E-bike battery alert after Brixton fire

London Fire Brigade image of Lambert Road

A flat fire in Brixton caused by an e-bike battery has led London Fire Brigade (LFB) to issue a safety alert.

LFB said a flat on the second floor of a terraced house converted into flats in Lambert Road was damaged by the fire. Two fire engines and around 10 firefighters from Brixton fire station attended.

Two people left the affected flat before firefighters arrived and there were no reports of injuries.

The brigade’s fire investigators believe the fire was caused by the failure of an e-bike’s lithium-ion batteries.

An LFB spokesperson said: “Electric bikes and scooters are often stored and charged in escape routes in homes or communal areas so, when a fire does occur, escape routes are blocked – which immediately makes an already serious situation much more frightening for those involved.

“So please do be mindful of where you’re storing them.

“Many of the fires we are seeing involve batteries which have been sourced on the internet, which may not meet the correct safety standards.

“We know that lithium-ion batteries are susceptible to failure if incorrect chargers are used, so it’s important to always use the correct charger for the product and buy an official one from a reputable seller.

“Batteries can also pose a risk if they have been damaged, so try to ensure they are not getting knocked around while in use or while being carried as spares, as this can increase the chance of damage to cells.

“You should also not expose them to extremes of temperature.

“You should always make sure you unplug your charger once it’s finished charging.

“Always follow manufacturers’ instructions when charging.” 

LFB advised people not to charge lithium-ion batteries while people are asleep, nor to leave them unattended.

Firefighters’ battery safety tips

  • Always use the correct charger – an official one from a reputable seller
  • Charging batteries while they are still warm could make them more susceptible to failure, so allow them to cool down before attempting to recharge them
  • Batteries should always be charged on hard flat surfaces where heat can dissipate.
  • Damaged batteries can pose a risk
  • Always unplug the charger once it has finished and do not to leave it unattended or use it while people are asleep
  • Ensure working smoke alarms are fitted in areas where e-bikes or e-scooters are being charged and test them regularly
  • Never block your escape route with anything, including bikes and scooters. Store them somewhere away from a main through route.