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Baltimore City

An e-bike caught fire in a Baltimore apartment garage Tuesday. Here’s how to safely store and charge them.

Firefighters on Tuesday morning extinguished an electric bicycle fire in the garage of an apartment building in Federal Hill.

Engines responded about 6:25 a.m. to the 1100 block of Light Street for a report of an e-bike with its motor on fire, said Baltimore City Fire Department spokesperson Blair Adams.

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Crews extinguished the fire in minutes.

“While this incident was placed under control in such a short time,” Adams said. “Electric bikes have lithium ion batteries, and they must be stored and charged properly at all times.”

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People should adhere the manufacturer’s instructions and recommendations on how to properly store the e-bikes, she said.

Last week, an electric scooter battery sparked a fire that killed an 8-year-old girl in New York City, authorities said. This year, several New York City fires in residential buildings were attributed to e-bike batteries.

When damaged or overcharged, the lithium ion batteries that power e-bikes can release hydrogen gas and explode violently. Adams said the department has not seen an increase in reports of e-bike fires in Baltimore.

The New York City Fire Department offered tips on how to store e-bikes:

  • Purchase and use devices that are certified by a qualified testing laboratory.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for charging and storage.
  • Do not charge a device under your pillow, on your bed or near a couch.
  • Always use the manufacturer’s cord and power adapter made specifically for the device.
  • Do not use aftermarket batteries.
  • Keep batteries and devices at room temperature. Do not place them in direct sunlight.
  • Store batteries away from anything flammable.
  • If a battery overheats or you notice an odor, a change in shape or color, leaking, or odd noises, stop using it immediately.
  • If the battery reacts in an alarming way — and it is safe to do so — move the device away from anything that can catch fire and call 911.
  • Do not leave e-bikes unattended while they’re charging and don’t leave them charging overnight.
  • Do not block your primary way into and out of the building with an e-bike.
  • Do not leave an e-bike in a child’s room.

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