Another EV Disaster – Deadly Inferno!

The midnight hours hours of May 20 saw fifty residents of a three story apartment building in the Chippendale neighborhood of Sydney, Australia. The occupants of the Axis Apartments were fleeing a fire.

Fire crews and paramedics were dispatched to an e-bike rental shop on Shepherd Street, where the smoke was centered. The shop was located on the ground floor of the same building that houses the Axis Apartments.

Brian Jonas, a New South Wales Fire and Rescue inspector, told the Daily Mail Australia that firefighters levered open a roll-up door to obtain entry. Then, after some initial trouble zeroing in on the blaze, fire crews located a large lithium-ion battery burning in the back of the shop. Lithium-ion battery fires are notoriously hard to extinguish, and produce voluminous amounts of gas and smoke, so the fire crews placed the battery in a water container for a day or two, protecting the lithium from the oxygen in the air and allowing everything to cool off.

Around thirty of the fifty evacuated residents had left on their own when the evacuation alarm sounded. The remainder were evacuated by firefighters in full gear, breathing apparatuses included.

One resident, Nathanial, slept through the alarm, as did his two daughters. He told reporters that they woke up when firefighters knocked at the door. Upon awakening the level of smoke snapped him into action at once, and the whole family got out safely.

This incident marks the sixty-third recorded lithium-iron battery fire in New South Wales so far this year (a rate of nearly six fires a week). The powerful battery chemistry, which is found in laptops, phones, smart watches, e-bikes, and electric cars, allows a lot of power to be concentrated in a small package. The battery chemistry, however, is unstable in the presence of oxygen, so when the casing cracks or batteries get overcharged, fires break out.

Some residents of the complex are not pleased that charging these batteries is allowed underneath residential apartments.