West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS) has released the shocking video after the owner of the property, in Illingworth, agreed it needed to be seen, to educate the public on the dangers of lithium batteries.
The video shows the owner rushing downstairs in the middle of the night after being woken by a popping noise, created by the batteries of an electric motorbike being charged inside the house. The sound indicated the batteries were failing due to thermal runaway – this is when too much heat is generated within a battery. Seconds later fire dramatically erupts and sets off the smoke alarm.
Watch manager John Cavalier, who is with the fire investigation unit at the service, said: “While fires involving lithium batteries are common, having a video showing the violence of the fire’s development is not. It’s clear to see in the video that the fire is absolutely horrifying – none of us would want this to happen in our homes.”
The fire took place at about 1am on February 24 and five people were taken to hospital, all of them had smoke inhalation with one person suffering burns to their mouth and windpipe. None of the injuries were life threatening. The property’s kitchen was severely damaged from the smoke and heat, which also affected other parts of house as doors were left open as people escaped from the blaze.
WM Cavalier said: “Because lithium batteries can be found in a range of items, we frequently attend fires involving them. They can be found in cars, bikes, scooters, laptops, phones, and e-cigarettes, amongst many other items. Any other type of fire we deal with has usually developed slowly, and people are able to get out quickly. However, battery fires are so ferocious and spread so quickly that there isn’t as much time to escape.
“To help keep everyone in your family safe, don’t leave lithium batteries to charge unattended, don’t put them in the way of exits or in hallways and unplug chargers when the batteries are at full capacity. I’d like to thank the owner of the house who gave us permission to use the video – it clearly shows the dangers associated with lithium batteries and could help to save lives in West Yorkshire."
Lithium battery safety advice:
- Always use the correct and branded charger for the battery.
- Buy the correct and branded replacement battery for the device.
- Do not use batteries with damaged casings, or casings that may be damaged.
- Do not use batteries that appear swollen or appear to have deformed in any way.
- Avoid storing, using, or charging batteries at very high or low temperatures.
- Don’t leave batteries continuously on charge. Once the charging cycle is complete, remove the battery from the charger.
- Charge batteries away from combustible items and preferably where they can be monitored.
- Never cover chargers or charging devices, for example a laptop and/or its power pack on or under bedding.
- When travelling by air, lithium batteries must be carried in your hand luggage.
- Don’t leave batteries unattended or charge them anywhere that blocks your exits.
Source: West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service