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E-Bike Battery Sparked Fire at NYC Daycare Center, Badly Hurting Child: FDNY



A lithium-ion battery from an e-bike sparked the devastating fire at a Queens daycare center that hurt more than a dozen kids, one of them critically, a day ago, officials say, marking the latest in a series of blazes linked to such units.

The fire broke out in the middle of Wednesday afternoon in the basement of what appeared to be a duplex near the corner of 72nd Drive near 147th Street in Kew Gardens Hills. The daycare center was being run out of the basement, as was a dental lab, according to officials with the city’s buildings department.

In total, 18 children were pulled from the fiery scene. One of those kids was taken to a hospital in critical condition. There was no immediate update on the child’s status Thursday. The other 17 were cleared at the scene, officials said, noting any injuries they may have endured were minor. Their parents came to pick them up and take them home.

The fire was under control within about 40 minutes, officials said. Still, significant damage was done.

Lithium-ion batteries have accounted for a growing share of fires in New York City and elsewhere in recent years. They’re inherently flammable, which is why airlines don’t allow them in checked baggage, and ultra-sensitive to heat. The packaging also tends to degrade more quickly, increasing the risk of fire and, potentially, widespread damage.

According to a New York Times report, lithium-ion batteries caused about 200 fires and six deaths in New York City last year.


“Unfortunately, it’s a fairly common occurrence throughout the city the last couple of years and into this year, of lithium-ion batteries,” FDNY Chief John Esposito said. Here are some tips for handling those batteries safely.

The status of the daycare center itself is still under investigation, including whether the people operating it had a valid license to do so. Some neighbors were unaware the home had two active businesses inside it.

The DOB issued violations for illegal construction work done at the home without proper work permits, and for occupying the space meant for accessory storage — not a daycare facility or dental lab. The department also issued a full vacate order on the home. The investigation is ongoing.

Source: NBC New York


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