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Fire service issues warning after series of e-scooter battery explosions

06:03 07/06/2021

A series of incidents involving exploding e-scooter batteries has led the Brussels fire department to issue a warning about the storage and maintenance of electric vehicles.

On Sunday morning, just after 5.00, firefighters were called to a residence on Chaussée de Louvain in Evere after an e-scooter battery overheated and finally exploded while charging overnight.

The occupant of the apartment was asleep in bed at the time and the smoke detector went off, alerting him. He immediately took the scooter out into the garden, receiving minor first-degree burns while doing so.

Firefighters who arrived at the scene extinguished the burning battery before placing it in a metal bin filled with water to avoid any possible resumption of the fire.

This was the fourth incident in a week involving e-scooter batteries catching fire while on charge, the fire department revealed.

The first took place the previous Sunday at around 21.20 in a house on Rue de Liedekerke in Saint-Josse-ten-Noode. The occupant of the apartment was present and in the shower at the time of the fire and he immediately smothered the burning scooter with wet towels. He then took the scooter out on to his balcony. He was later treated in hospital for smoke inhalation.

Two similar incidents took place on Wednesday at the warehouse of an e-scooter rental business in the city.

The fire brigade therefore advised the public to handle their electric scooters and bikes with due caution and issued a series of safety recommendations.

"Follow the manufacturer's instructions," a fire department spokesperson said. "Use only the original charger that comes with the device or only buy approved alternatives from well-known manufacturers.

“Allow appliances to cool down after prolonged or intensive use; always place the battery near a smoke detector, in a fireproof room and out of reach of combustible materials.

“Do not place the battery in direct sunlight or on a heating system, but in a dry place with a stable temperature and do not leave your electric vehicle in the hot sun for a long time."

The fire department also recommend that you supervise the charging of the battery and not leave it doing so unattended during the night in your home.

"Always unplug the battery when it is full," the spokesperson added. "If you have had a collision with the scooter or electric bike, or have dropped the battery, check it for damage and always have it checked by a specialist."

Written by Nick Amies