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Lethal Lithium Batteries and Fires

Posted on April 17, 2023

Fires caused by lithium-ion batteries are dangerously lethal, yet firefighters aren’t getting the special training needed to fight them effectively, a troubling trend given the spike in lithium battery fires across the nation, reported NBC News.

Lithium-ion batteries were the cause of more than 200 fires in New York City last year, killing six and injuring almost 150. An e-bike lithium battery injured nearly 20 children at a daycare center in Queens. These batteries also caused an electric transit bus to explode in Connecticut and engulfed a multi-family home in Massachusetts.

The issue with lithium batteries is that when they fail or overheat, they release toxic, flammable gases that spark fast-spreading fires that are hard to extinguish. The gases are confined within the cell battery which does not allow water in; as a result, it usually takes a lot of water to put out these fires. It takes only 15 seconds from the first sign of smoke to an explosion where the windows blow out, as compared to a traditional fire which takes 3 minutes, noted the article.

According to the report, even though firefighters responding to a call for smoke from a lithium-ion powered grid in Arizona waited for the chemical vapors to dissipate for two hours, upon opening the door, the cloud of gas immediately exploded. The men suffered multiple thermal and chemical burns, broken bones, internal bleeding, and other injuries. As a result, there are calls for manufacturers to redesign lithium-ion batteries.

If you or a loved one injured in an accident in the home or workplace would like to talk to an attorney experienced in litigation involving explosions and burn injuries, please contact us to set a time to discuss your legal options.