38 Injured After Battery Causes Fire In NYC Apartment Complex

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A Saturday morning fire in a New York City high-rise has sent 38 people to the hospital including five EMS workers.

Believed to have been caused by a lithium ion battery from a micro mobility device, the fire began on the 20th floor of a 52nd street apartment building in Midtown, according to NBC news. When firefighters arrived on the scene they immediately set to work rescuing tenants, using a “life-saving rope rescue” to save two people from the apartment where the fire originated, NBC reported.

“I cannot emphasize enough the extraordinary work of our members this morning in unbelievably dangerous conditions,” FDNY Commissioner Laura Kavanagh stated via FDNY’s Instagram post.

Though a sign outside the apartment complex read, “No pedal or e-bikes allowed beyond this point,” fire officials found that the apartment where the fire began housed at least five e-bikes, the New York Times reported.  Investigators believe that the tenet repaired bikes and are currently determining whether unauthorized business activity had taken place, the Times added.

Lithium-ion batteries, while generally safe, can pose a risk if they are defective, are made of low quality materials, are assembled incorrectly, are used or recharged improperly, or are damaged, according to OSHA. New York City has seen 200 fires caused by lithium-ion batteries this year alone, contributing to the death of six people, the New York Times reported. (RELATED: Electric Bus Fleet Touted By Dems Taken Out Of Service After One Burned Up In Battery Fire) 

“The lithium ion battery adds a different degree, when we talk about the fire dynamics of it,” FDNY Deputy Assistant Chief Frank Leeb stated according to NBC News. “These rooms flash over in just a mere matter of seconds.”

All patients were taken to local hospitals, where two remain in critical condition though EMS Chief Joseph Pataky expects more patients to be admitted, according to NBC News.