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Product safety lawyer welcomes LFB e-bikes battery safety warning following Shepherd’s Bush fire

Product safety lawyer Jill Paterson has welcomed an urgent safety warning by the London Fire Brigade (LFB) following an investigation into a fire in a high-rise block of flats in Shepherd’s Bush which concluded that it was caused by the failure of an electric bicycle (e-bike) lithium-ion battery.

Posted on 23 June 2022

The LFB issued the urgent warning yesterday following the serious fire at the block of flats on Tuesday 21 June 2022. The fire in the 12th-floor flat was tackled by 60 firefighters and six people were evacuated, with one taken to hospital.
 
As part of the warning the LFB said that as the popularity of e-bikes and e-scooters has grown they have seen a “huge spike” in incidents and have issued several warnings about how dangerous these types of fires can be.
 
In December 2021 Transport for London banned the use of e-scooters on their transport network following incidents of fire.
 
In 2022 so far the LFB have attended 39 fires related to e-bikes and e-scooters and a further 17 related to lithium-ion batteries. They advise people never to store these batteries in communal areas as they can block escape routes.
 
The Brigade’s Assistant Commissioner for Fire Safety, Charlie Pugsley, said:
 
“When these batteries and chargers fail, they do so with ferocity and because the fires develop so rapidly the situation can quickly become incredibly serious.
 
“Another issue with fires involving lithium-ion batteries and which we saw at yesterday’s fire is that when they fail, they eject their contents over a wide area which can lead to multiple areas of burning in the room where the fire has started.”
 
Jill Paterson, product safety partner at Leigh Day, has raised concerns previously over the safety of e-bikes and specialises in representing people who have been affected by fires caused by faulty products. Jill is part of the team that represented residents of the Shepherd’s Bush tower block which caught fire in August 2016 due to an allegedly faulty Indesit tumble dryer, produced by Whirlpool.
 
Jill said:
 
“I am pleased that the LFB have put out this urgent warning regarding the safety of e-bike batteries and I would encourage anyone with one of these bikes, or any other product with a lithium-ion battery, to read their advice to ensure it is charged and stored as safely as possible. Above all it is extremely important that any products that are available to UK consumers are safe and buyers should make sure they are purchasing from reputable websites or outlets.”
 
Further information on e-bike and e-scooter safety advice from the London Fire Brigade can be found on their website.

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