NYC Scooter Shop Goes Up in Flames, Blamed on Exploding Battery

At least one apartment above the shop was reportedly gutted by the afternoon fire

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A scooter repair shop in Queens went up in flames Monday afternoon, sparked by what investigators believe was a lithium ion battery.

The batteries used to power electric bikes and scooters have been wreaking havoc across New York City, prompting pleas for greater safety from FDNY officials and new legislation from city leaders.

Firefighters rushed to King Electric Scooters in Richmond Hills around 3 p.m. after the latest battery-sparked fire took off. After crews managed to get control of the blaze and put out the flames, dozens of charred and blackened scooters and bikes were pulled from the building.

Investigators believe one exploding battery set off an additional 50 batteries inside the store on 87th Avenue. Luckily, there were no reports of any injuries.

People live in a handful of apartments above the Jamaica Avenue shop. Some residents were spared but at least one woman reportedly lost everything in the fire.

"A lady who has actually been the original tenant from like 10 years ago, all her stuff is ruined. Everything she has is gone, she has water damage. She ain't going to be able to go back in there," said neighbor Anthony Mutari.

The FDNY has blamed dozens of fires on faulty batteries as the number of them only increases. A growing list of businesses and homes have been gutted by fires sparked at all hours of the day.

In 2022, there were 147 people hurt as a result of 220 fires sparked by lithium ion batteries, along with six deaths. So far in 2023, there have been 45 people hurt in 39 incidents, with two people killed.

"When these things start, there is no putting it out. So that's why we have the fires that you're seeing throughout the city," said FDNY Dep. Chief Daniel Brown. "When these batteries do explode, you have a significant fire condition."

The fire marshal was still investigating for more detail for how the fire occurred.

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