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Published on 28 Feb 2022

Three electric "vehicle" fires in the space of a few days have made the headlines.

Monday 14/02 - A fire broke out in the cellar of a four-storey building in Laeken at around 7.30pm. According to Walter Derieuw, spokesman for the SIAMU, as reported by BELGA, the cause of the fire could be linked to a short-circuit in the battery of the electric two-wheeler, which was surrounded by flammable objects. The battery was not being charged. The cellar was not equipped with a smoke detector.

Thursday 10/02 An electric scooter parked on the public road caught fire, probably due to a thermal reaction in the battery. A car parked nearby was damaged. Attempts by the fire brigade to extinguish the fire were unsuccessful, and the scooter was finally immersed in a container filled with water before being moved.

Saturday 12/02 Electric car causes major fire in car park
An electric car caught fire on level -3 of a car park in the centre of Brussels. The carcass had to be immersed in a water container.

According to preliminary information, none of the three vehicles involved were loaded at the time of the fire...

Another fire involving ...

Wednesday 18/02 - Fire on the car carrier FELICITY ACE
The car carrier Felicity Ace is still burning. The many electric cars on board made it even more difficult to extinguish the fire.

Some prevention principles for users.

The press regularly reports cases of fires in electric vehicles. The case of cars is relatively well known, but what about the increasingly common small vehicles equipped with lithium-ion batteries? While public scooters are normally parked outside on the public highway, private owners prefer to park and charge them safely in a garage, cellar or other indoor location. Some do not hesitate to charge them in their office or living room. They are often unaware that the battery can heat up and suddenly catch fire.
This type of fire is very virulent, the flames can spread quickly. Not to mention that, as these means of transport are used during the day, they will often be recharged at night, also for some people for reasons of economy since the night rate is more advantageous.

On the one hand, the regulations are, for the moment, of little help to building managers and prevention advisers in the face of these new fire risks. On the other hand, users, who are rarely informed of the "hidden" dangers of batteries, must be made more aware and respect some basic rules.

  • Don't underestimate the risk! The lithium-ion battery of your bike, scooter, hoverboard or electric scooter can suddenly catch fire. The outbreak will be intense and may quickly degenerate into a fire that is difficult to control with conventional household fire extinguishers.
  • The pyrolysis gases released during these fires are toxic and are often not fully burnt. The sudden presence of oxygen (shattering glass) can cause an often unexpected flashover phenomenon that will lead to a widespread and very rapid ignition of the premises concerned.
  • Be aware of batteries that have suffered a shock or are damaged. An exothermic reaction is likely to be triggered with a delayed effect, the duration of which is sometimes unexpected (hours)!





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