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As the move to electric vehicles and electrification in general continues among institutional and commercial facilities, maintenance and engineering managers must stay mindful that the safety and health of vehicles users and building occupants remains among their top priorities. A recent tragedy in New York City offers a reminder that one increasingly popular source of electricity for some products – lithium-ion batteries – comes with safety concerns.
Four Chinatown residents died recently after an e-bike fire tore through a repair shop previously flagged for unsafe conditions, according to the New York Daily News. Two senior citizen victims were clinging to life in critical condition after the blaze erupted inside the HQ E-Bike Repair a shop on the ground floor of the six-story residence, the Fire Department of New York said. It was the second fire blamed on a battery at the location in about nine months, officials and a witness said.
The inferno was sparked by a lithium-ion battery, fire marshals quickly determined, with the same shop cited twice before for violations.
Two women and two men were killed, with an 80-year-old man and a 65-year-old woman hospitalized in critical condition, authorities said. A seventh victim suffered minor injuries. A 71-year-old man and a 62-year-old woman perished in the blaze, while the two other victims remained unidentified, according to officials. The victims were taken to three local hospitals, police said.
Dan Hounsell is senior editor of the facilities market. He has more than 30 years of experience writing about facilities maintenance, engineering and management.
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