An e-scooter owner had to spend eight hours in hospital for smoke inhalation after his vehicle dramatically burst into flames in his hallway.
London Fire Brigade shared shocking footage of the incident, which shows the e-scooter releasing a small stream of smoke for a few seconds before exploding.
Dell Williams, 37, had left it to charge in the kitchen of the two-storey terraced house in Brent, London, where he lives with a number of other residents last weekend.
Luckily, he and his housemates were not nearby when the battery went into a process called thermal runaway, creating an enormous blaze.
Dell said: ‘I just want to thank the Lord that we managed to get out of there in one piece!
‘I am so grateful to be alive. I spent eight hours in hospital due to inhaling smoke from the fire and when I went back to the house it was such an eye opener.
‘I was shocked, I am shocked now. I am so grateful that no one else was hurt. I cheated death.’
The security guard had bought his e-scooter from online marketplace Gumtree just two weeks ago, in an effort to make travelling around London easier.
He told firefighters he was charging it in the kitchen instead of his bedroom to stop his dog from touching it while it was plugged in.
After the blaze broke out, Dell tried to cover it with a fire blanket, but became overwhelmed by the smoke and had to escape his home.
London Fire Brigade said there have been 48 e-bike fires and 12 e-scooter fires in the capital so far this year.
The organisation’s deputy commissioner Dom Ellis said: ‘As the video shows, once a battery starts to go into thermal runaway a fire develops very quickly and can block escape routes.
‘Thermal runaway can lead to the destruction of the battery and a ferocious fire.
‘We know prior to ignition thermal runaway can lead to the ejection of a range of gases. The white and grey coloured smoke is not harmless, and the speed at which these incidents develop shouldn’t be ignored.’
What is thermal runaway?
Thermal runaway is a chain reaction that can happen inside a battery when it reaches a certain temperature.
The heat triggers a chemical reaction in the elements that make up the interior of the battery, causing more heat, which causes a stronger reaction, and so on.
In extreme circumstances, this can lead to an explosion like the one seen in the e-scooter video – and the whole process can take milliseconds.
One of the biggest reasons for thermal runaway is overcharging a battery beyond its maximum safe voltage, so it’s safest to only charge your vehicle or device until it reaches 100%.
He advised people to avoid trying to tackle the fire, get out the building, and dial 999.
Giving advice to owners of the vehicles, or anyone thinking of getting one, Dell said: ‘Don’t have e-scooters in the house, charge outside, don’t keep it in the house.
‘Buy e-scooters from a shop where you have a warranty and insurance.
‘These things happen, I wouldn’t say don’t buy one, but if you buy one store them outside so they don’t catch fire. Don’t leave them on charge unattended.’
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