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Lithium Battery Fires


Lithium batteries are everywhere these days, from smartphones to laptops, game controllers to E-bikes, and yes, electric vehicles. And although many people never experience danger with them, over 25,000 instances of overheating and/or fires have been reported in the past five years.  The bottom line is this:  defective batteries can lead to serious devastation.

Spontaneous Combustion 

Lithium ions are used to power many devices, and have been known to spontaneously combust while they are charging. In just one city, the fire department reports nearly 70 injuries and five fatalities in the first half of 2021.  But cities across the country have dealt with similar issues.  They include:

  • The Lithium batteries from an e-scooter or bike sparked a blaze that killed a little girl, a woman, and three pets.
  • A lithium battery for an e-bike that was being charged burst into flames, causing serious destruction and injuring five people;
  • A fire at a battery storage warehouse that suffered damage after a battery caught fire;
  • A battery fire that resulted in the deaths of two teens and a woman in their fourth-floor apartment.

Why are Ion-Lithium Batteries Causing Fires? 

When there is an anomaly in an ion lithium battery, the energy bank has a risk of overheating, leading to fires and/or explosions. The technical explanation is rather complex; suffice it to say that a combination of organic solvents can be a dangerous mix.  Adding to the problem is the fact that the cathode may release oxygen, feeding the fire and sustaining it despite efforts to extinguish it.

Safety Tips 

A number of safety tips can improve your chances of having an uneventful relationship with ion-lithium batteries:

  • Look for the Underwriters Laboratories Mark (UL) on any device, ensuring it has been tested for safety;
  • Read and follow instructions for storage, charging and use;
  • Avoid charging any device on a couch, bed, or pillow;
  • Use only the cord and adapter provided by the manufacturer for any device;
  • Store devices and batteries at room temperature out of direct sunlight;
  • Recycle old batteries properly at a battery recycling site.

Call 911 immediately if a battery:

  • Makes noise;
  • Changes color;
  • Emits an odor;
  • Leaks.

After a Fire

 Unfortunately, even with proper care, lithium batteries can surprise you with a fire.  Besides, many of these fires have occurred in apartments, impacting people who didn’t even own the fire-causing battery in the first place. So after one of these tragedies occurs, where does it leave you?

Legal Assistance 

If you or a loved one has been the unwitting victim of a fire that was caused by a lithium battery, what recourse do you have?  At The Law Office of Hasson D. Barnes, our informed and adept Baltimore personal injury attorneys can help you navigate your legal questions.  To connect with an advocate who cares about you, schedule a confidential consultation in our office today.

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