The blazes are believed to have started in homes where the device is being charged and West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS) is urging owners to take extra care.
In December a fire at a home in Luxor View, Harehills in Leeds turned out to be caused by a lithium battery from an e-bike that had been charging. The battery was being charged overnight and crews received the call just after 2am to the fire on the ground floor of the three-storey mid terraced property – two men were taken to hospital with smoke inhalation.
Lithium batteries are of growing concern due to the risk of explosion because of something called a ‘thermal runaway’ where internal temperature of the battery continues to increase making it unstable. Also, there are problems caused by the disposal of lithium ion batteries.
Dave Walton, deputy chief fire officer, said: “E-bikes, e-scooters, and mobility scooters are becoming more and more popular each year. While these vehicles can provide a great way for people to get around, they also come with a number of risks – and one of the biggest dangers posed is the risk of fire due to the lithium batteries.
“Lithium is highly flammable and particularly dangerous because of the battery's high energy density. Not only do people need to be careful when charging these batteries but they need to be recycled properly and not disposed of with general household waste.”
According to figures around 700 fires a year are caused by inappropriate disposal of lithium batteries. The Environmental Services Association says resulting fires cost fire services and waste operators some £158m a year.
Across the country there are a growing number of incidents involving rechargeable household items including E-Cigarettes, E-Scooters, E-bikes, Hover Boards, phones, powerpacks, laptops, children’s toys and rechargeable power tools. All of these incidents have been caused by the lithium battery failing due to issues which include damage, overheating or using an incorrect charging cable.