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Bike shop catches fire in NYC, electric bike batteries believed to be the cause

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Thomas Tracy

New York Daily News

A fire tore through a Queens bike shop Thursday night and fire marshals are trying to determine if it was sparked by a lithium-ion battery, FDNY officials said.

Thursday’s blaze broke out inside the Fly Wing E-bike store on 47th Ave. near 39th Place in Sunnyside about 6:45 p.m., officials said.

It took firefighters nearly two hours to put out the blaze. When the fire was doused, the first floor store and everything inside it had been destroyed.

A firefighter suffered a minor injury fighting the blaze. No other injuries were reported.

The store was closed for the night when the fire erupted, FDNY officials said.

More than 60 e-bikes were destroyed in the fire, according to WABC Eyewitness News.

“We had a large number of e-bikes, and gasoline bikes, approximately 30, were in the rear and the same number inside the store,” FDNY Battalion Chief Justin Zorbo told the news station. “E-bike fires are becoming more prevalent in the city. And they are difficult to extinguish. And require numerous hazmat resources.”

The investigation was ongoing Friday, as FDNY officials released a two-minute video of e-bike fires to alert the public of the dangers the lithium-ion batteries.

“Fires caused by lithium-ion batteries have increased dramatically in New York City with deadly consequences,” the video warns. “Damaged and unstable batteries and improper charging, storage or disposal can cause the batteries to overheat, leading to an explosive, aggressive fire that spreads rapidly.”

Twice as many fires caused by e-bike and e-scooter batteries have been reported so far in 2022 than in the same period of 2021, FDNY officials said.

By the end of August, some 130 fires have been sparked by lithium-ion batteries across the city. The blazes have killed five people and injured 73, Fire Department officials said.

Factory-installed scooter batteries seem safe and adhere to industry standards, safety experts say. The batteries that tend to combust are aftermarket items e-bike users buy online or in scooter stores as supplements or replacements for the battery that came with the device, said FDNY officials.

©2022 New York Daily News. Visit nydailynews.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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