An exploding problem: Fires sparked by lithium batteries are confounding firefighters

  • Source: NBC News
  • Published: 02/08/2023 12:00 AM

VIDEO: Last July, an electric transit bus in Connecticut burst into flames while parked at a depot. A month later, an electric scooter sparked a fire inside a New York City apartment that killed a 5-year-old girl and 36-year-old woman. And last month, a fire believed to be caused by the batteries in an electric scooter engulfed a multifamily home in Brockton, Massachusetts. Lithium-ion batteries have become a ubiquitous feature in new forms of transportation and common household products. They're also found in residential solar energy systems. But when those batteries fail or overheat, they release flammable, toxic gasses that can spark a fast-spreading fire that is extremely difficult to extinguish. “The source of the gasses that are creating the flames is confined within a cell battery that will not allow water in,” said Ofodike Ezekoye, a fire scientist and professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Texas at Austin.


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