Fire and Rescue NSW warns public to safeguard homes from Lithium-ion battery risks - VIDEO - Balgowlah

Published: 18 Apr 2023 01:03pm

Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) investigators, examining the scene of Sydney’s latest Lithium-Ion battery fire, are urging the public to safely store and charge the cells, outside the home if possible.

Just after 9am on Friday 14 April, an e-bike battery, on charge in the loungeroom of a duplex in Sydney Road, Balgowlah, began to suddenly overheat in a process known as “Thermal Runaway.”

A family of four inside the home heard a ‘popping’ noise as the battery began disintegrating and they threw water on the cell, but it re-ignited and exploded moments later, sending burning debris almost three metres across the room.

The family escaped the home unharmed as firefighters arrived and placed the damaged battery in a bucket of water to prevent further re-ignition.

FRNSW Fire Investigation and Research Unit Inspector Chris Hughes inspected the scene and numerous impact points on the loungeroom walls and ceiling.

“When Lithium-Ion batteries go into Thermal Runaway and explode fiercely like this, the debris has potential to start numerous fires in the home,” Inspector Hughes said.

“Lithium-Ion batteries are particularly difficult to extinguish as they often re-ignite, causing further risk.

“In this case, the battery and charger were compatible.

“We’re urging the public to charge and store Lithium-Ion batteries outside the home where possible so if they do overheat and explode, the chances of harm are reduced and there’s less risk of homes burning down.

“Where it’s not practicable, charge lithium-ion batteries on a non-combustible surface and not in an entry/exit pathway, ensure your batteries and devices are in good condition and are compatible.

“Stick to reputable brands and ensure your home has a working smoke alarm and a fire escape plan, especially as we head into winter.”

Media Note: A video of Inspector Hughes investigating the Lithium-Ion fire is available at: [external link]

Updated: 18 Apr 2023 01:08pm

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Related safety topics

Battery and charging safety

It's important that we all understand the risks of lithium-ion batteries and be prepared if things go wrong.

Smoke alarms

It“s the law to have at least one working smoke alarm installed on every level of your home.

Escape plans

Having a home escape plan and a working smoke alarm increases your chances of getting out safely.

High-rise fire safety

The best way to keep you and your family safe is to prevent fires from occurring and know what to do in case of a fire.

Details about this incident may change and should not be used as emergency information and/or advice.

For all life threatening emergencies, call Triple Zero (000)

For flood information, warnings or requests for non-life threatening assistance, call the SES on 132 500 or visit the NSW State Emergency Service website here. [external link].

For information directly relating to bushfires please call the Bush Fire Information Line on 1800 679 737 or visit the NSW Rural Fire Service Website here. [external link]

Stations nearby

MANLY Fire Station

128 Sydney Road, Fairlight NSW 2094

MOSMAN Fire Station

730 Military Road, Mosman NSW 2088

NEUTRAL BAY Fire Station

28 Yeo Street, Neutral Bay NSW 2089