On June 20, four people were killed and two were critically injured in a fire at an e-bike shop in New York City. The lithium ion batteries that the devices use are the leading cause of fire deaths in NYC and have led to a citywide crackdown led by the Fire Department of New York. On the heels of the tragedy, authorities just shut down a potentially deadly shop just a few blocks from where the fire last week broke out.
“This location was truly a death trap,” FDNY Commissioner Laura Kavanaugh said on June 29 of the Canal Street storefront, according to The New York Post. “We found multiple fire hazards, damaged batteries, and overloaded power strips.”
“This is a life and death situation,” Kavanaugh continued. “Failure to comply with required safety practices can result in blood on your hands as we saw last week, and the fire department will do everything in its power to make sure you abide by the law.”
E-bikes are a popular mode of transportation in the city for food delivery drivers and commuters alike. But they also represent a growing danger. CNN reports that lithium ion batteries have caused 108 fires and 13 deaths in New York so far this year, up from 10 fatalities in 2021 and 2022 combined. The city beefed up its e-bike battery regulation in March by forming a special task force designed to inspect and hunt down illegal charging stations and other hazardous materials.
Kavanaugh reiterated the city’s commitment to safety in yesterday’s press conference. “This location was essentially a ticking time bomb,” she stated, per The New York Times.