Lithium ion batteries used for electric bikes and scooters caused an early Monday morning fire in Sunset Park, FDNY fire marshals said Tuesday.
One business on the ground floor was an electric scooter repair business that stored batteries "contrary to the legal occupancy of the building," the city's buildings department said in a statement Monday.
Firefighters responded to the three-alarm blaze in a four-story, mixed-use building at 5401 7th Ave. just after 7 a.m. on Monday. The fire began on the first floor and spread to the second, deputy assistant chief John Sarrocco said in a press conference Monday.
"When these scooters are involved in fire, the batteries can overheat and cause spontaneous combustion," Sarrocco said. "The fire department procedure is to pull them out of the building and turn them over to our hazardous materials unit."
According to the FDNY, lithium ion batteries have sparked 60 fires across the five boroughs between Jan. 1 and May 3 this year. City data shows it represents a 233% increase from the same period last year, which saw 18 fires between Jan. 1 and May 3.
On Tuesday, FDNY shared photos from the scene on social media showing dozens of e-bikes, scooters, and batteries damaged by fire.
"Be #FDNYSmart- If using a lithium battery, follow the manufacturer's instructions for charging and storage," the fire department wrote on Instagram. "Always use the manufacturer's cord and power adapter made specifically for the device. If a battery overheats, discontinue use immediately. Learn more at fdnysmart.org"
Per FDNY Fire Marshals the cause of this morning’s 3-alarm fire which occurred 5401 7th Avenue in Brooklyn was lithium ion batteries from E-Bikes/Scooters. Read more: https://t.co/JrdMmQkNMH pic.twitter.com/SJtWnveRn5— FDNY (@FDNY) May 2, 2022
The city said the landlord was issued three violations for the illegal occupancy, "failure to properly maintain the building," and "failure to maintain the exterior walls of the building."
One civilian was treated for injuries on the scene and two firefighters were transported to Maimonides Medical Center with minor, non-life threatening injuries, the FDNY said.
The FDNY did not immediately make available data on fires caused by e-bikes in the last year.