Shocking footage shows e-bike burst into flames in devastating NYC fire

Shocking video captures the moment an e-bike burst into flames in the Bronx on Sunday, sparking a massive blaze that gutted a grocery store, damaged adjacent buildings and injured seven people, authorities say. 

The footage – posted to the FDNY’s Twitter page – shows the faulty bike in what appears to be a storage area inside the Concourse Food Plaza at 2096 Grand Concourse in the West Bronx section in the late morning, officials said. 

There are then a few shooting flames — before the blaze grows in intensity within seconds, the footage shows. 

The brief clip includes a person wearing a lime-green sweater walk into the room, move the bike and then leave again – seconds before the inferno fills the entire room.

“It’s really something that we have never seen before as far as a small fire turning into something like this in a matter of a few minutes,” FDNY Chief of Department John Hodgens said Sunday.

Footage shows the moment the e-bike begins to catch fire and quickly grow into an inferno.
Video shows the fire beginning with a few shooting flames before it fills the entire room.
FDNY
The moment the flames erupted, filling the entire room.
Someone steps out of the room just before smoke and flames fill the area, the footage shows.
FDNY


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An EMS worker and a civilian were seriously hurt when the fire broke out around 10:40 a.m., officials said. Five firefighters also suffered minor injuries.

The explosive blaze was blamed on the scooter’s lithium-ion battery and rose to five alarms, requiring over 50 units and more than 200 firefighters to douse it.

Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh said Sunday that the bike battery caused “extraordinary damage.


Flames shoot out of windows at the Concourse Food Plaza at 2096 Grand Concourse.
The quick-moving fire was blamed on a scooter’s lithium-ion battery.
Tomas E. Gaston

“This really shows you how incredibly serious this can be,” Kavanagh told reporters. “Thanks to the quick work of our members who were here in under 4 minutes, we have not suffered a loss of life.

“This entire building behind me is completely destroyed,” she added. “The roof is caved in. There is nothing left. It’s all because of this one single e-bike. And so we really want to emphasize to the public how much damage can be done by a single e-bike that isn’t compliant, a single e-bike that might not be certified, might be using an illegal battery.”


Smoke billows from the building as firefighters respond to the scene.
An EMS worker and a civilian were seriously hurt in the blaze, the FDNY said.
FDNY

Hodgens said firefighters “were unable to get ahead of” the massive amount of fire “produced by a single battery in just under 5 minutes.” 

The blaze also spread to neighboring buildings, he said. 

“It was a difficult operation,” Hodgens said. “We went to a defensive operation. You see these tower ladders — we stopped the fire from spreading to the furniture store, but the fire had already spread to the laundromat.”


City workers removing the e-bike/scooter that caused the fire.
This e-bike caused “extraordinary damage,” according to Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh.
Tomas E. Gaston

Fires caused by e-bike batteries killed six people in the city in 2022, officials said. Those blazes were among 219 started by the batteries last year and left another 147 people injured.

Last month, Kavanagh sent a letter to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission about her concerns over the batteries.

Late last year, the FDNY published an emergency safety guide warning apartment dwellers about fires caused by the batteries, used by the popular e-bikes, scooters and hoverboards.

The guide — which will need to be posted inside apartment complexes by April 30 — urges consumers to immediately stop charging an e-bike and call 911 if there is fire or smoke, battery overheating, leaking or a strange smell or a battery making an odd noise.

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