E-Scooter Blamed for Fire

Published: 03/03/2024 By Allan Fuller

Fire Brigade investigators believe that the lithium battery pack on an e-scooter was responsible for starting a fire in Roehampton in the 20th February.  

Two adults and a child had to be rescued by fire fighters using a ladder at the eleven storey block on Wanborough Drive. They were all taken to hospital as a precaution after suffering from smoke inhalation.

The first call was made to the Fire Brigade at 10:50pm and five fire engines from Wandsworth, Fulham, Richmond, Battersea and Wimbledon fire stations attended the scene. The fire had started in part of a first-floor flat which was badly damaged by the blaze. Firefighters had it extinguished by 1.17am the following morning.

The fire is being treated as accidental and is believed to have been caused by the failure of a lithium battery pack on an e-scooter. The e-scooter was stored in the hallway. It was not in use and it was not on charge at the time of the fire. A London Fire Brigade (LFB) spokesperson said, "This fire highlights the risk of storing devices like e-bikes and e-scooters on an escape route, such as a hallway. The three occupants tried to escape the flat via the front door due to the amount of smoke. So instead, they went to the balcony and waited until firefighters could bring them safely down."

LFB says that e-bikes and e-scooters have become London's fastest-growing fire risk. In 2023, there was a fire in the capital involving these types of vehicles, on average, once every two days. Three people have died in these fires and more than 60 people have been hurt. The spokesperson continued, "The vehicles can be a fun and sustainable way of getting around London but the stark reality is that some of these vehicles are proving to be incredibly dangerous, particularly if they have been modified, if fitted/converted with second-hand products or products purchased online which may not meet safety standards, or if batteries are used with the wrong chargers. "When the lithium battery fires occur, they can be devastating and ferocious, producing jets of flame and a toxic flammable vapour cloud that should never be inhaled."

As part of its #ChargeSafe campaign, the Brigade is calling for much-needed legislation for online marketplaces to ensure products like batteries, chargers and conversion kits are strictly regulated.