Lithium-ion battery from electric bike catches fire

Author: Carolyn Dolcimascolo
Published: Updated:
electric bike fire lithium ion battery
CREDIT: South Trail Fire & Rescue

South Trail Fire & Rescue responded to a fire at Lakes Park RV around 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday. Firefighters indicated that a lithium-ion battery from an electric bike had gone into thermal runaway.

It caused fire damage and smokey conditions to the inside of an RV.

UL Laboratories, an independent safety science organization, described thermal runaway as a phenomenon in which the lithium-ion cell enters an uncontrollable, self-heating state.

Thermal runaway can result in:

  • Ejection of gas, shrapnel and/or particulates (violent cell venting)
  • Extremely high temperatures
  • Smoke
  • Fire

The fire was extinguished, and the investigation was completed by the South Trail Fire & Rescue Fire Marshal/Investigator.

Two adults and one dog were displaced.

The Department added, “All lithium-ion battery products can only be charged with the cord or charger that came with the device. Never use an aftermarket cord or charger, and never charge batteries in direct sunlight or at temperatures above 105 degrees.”

Earlier this year, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a warning about Unit Pack Power (UPP) electric bike batteries. CPSC stated the e-bike batteries posed fire and burn hazards and told consumers to immediately stop using the UPP batteries with model number “U004” or “U004-1”.  

The warning came after 13 people in the United States reported to the CPSC that the battery overheated. In an April release, CPSC said the batteries were not certified by an accredited laboratory to the applicable UL safety standard to ensure protection. 

CPSC offered these steps to prevent fires with micro-mobility devices: 

  • Only use products designed, manufactured, and certified for compliance with the applicable consensus safety standards.
  • Always be present when charging micromobility products, never while sleeping, and only use the supplied charger.
  • Only use an approved replacement battery pack.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper charging and unplug the device when done.
  • Never use a device with a battery pack that has been modified/reworked by unqualified personnel or with re-purposed or used cells.
  • NEVER throw lithium batteries into the trash or general recycling. Instead, take them to your local battery recycler or hazardous waste collection center. 

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