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Why Lithium-Ion Battery Fires in NYC Condos/Coops Increase in Winter


In case you may not be aware, lithium-ion battery fires are on the rise. In Manhattan in 2021, these have increased by almost 100% over the previous year, with the majority of coop and condo fire damage claims submitted during the winter months. Why is this happening, and what can homeowners, property owners, and tenants do to prevent a fire and a subsequent fire claim?

Today, many household items are charged using lithium-ion batteries. Your laptop, tablet, cell phone, cordless appliances, vacuum cleaners, are in constant use therefore requiring daily recharging. However, some vehicles, including electric cars, ebikes, and scooters are also lithium-ion battery powered. During the warmer months, these can be recharged in garages or even outdoors. In winter, many owners bring their scooters and ebikes indoors and recharge them using standard electrical outlets. While these outlets may already be taxed with a host of technology and small appliance chargers in use, they are not designed for vehicles. In Lower Manhattan, a recent lithium-ion battery fire started due to seven ebikes overloading the household electrical system. The result was an explosion, created when the batteries’ hydrogen gas escaped. 

That was not all. In New York City alone last year, over 100 fires caused by these batteries were reported that caused millions of dollars in damage, numerous injuries to civilians and first responders, as well as four fatalities. United Public Adjusters & Appraisers asks that residents consider the following advice to prevent future coop and condo fire damage claims.

  • For optimal safety, only buy devices with a UL seal of approval.

  • Do not overload outlets by using power strips, or extension cords to charge appliances, devices, vehicles, etc.

  • If you notice a charger overheating, smoking, or leaking fluid, disconnect at once and do not reuse it.

  • Do not charge devices, ebikes, or scooters while you are asleep.

To learn more or for assistance in filing a fire claim, contact our team at 800-718-5677.


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