Fire that killed woman and two children ‘started by e-bike left charging’

  • london
  • July 3, 2023
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flat fire that killed a woman and two young children is believed to have started accidentally and the most probable cause was an e-bike that was charging, the fire service has said.

Gemma Germeney, 31, died at the scene in Sackville Close, Cambridge, in the early hours of Friday, Cambridgeshire Police said.

Lilly Peden, aged eight, and four-year-old Oliver Peden were taken to hospital where they both later died, the force said.

We know e-bikes and e-scooters are popular modes of personal transport at the moment and we are urging anyone with one to be aware of the potential risks

Police said in a statement on Sunday that a man in his 30s remained in hospital in a critical condition.

On Monday, Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service said its investigation into the cause of the fatal fire had concluded.

“It is believed that the fire started accidentally and the most probable cause was an e-bike,” a spokesman said.

Area Commander Stuart Smith said: “Fire service and specialist fire investigators, together with police forensic teams and a fire dog, have spent the weekend carrying out a thorough investigation of the maisonette.

“A fire investigation looks for the most probable cause and in this case, we believe that to be an electric bike that was charging.

“We know e-bikes and e-scooters are popular modes of personal transport at the moment and we are urging anyone with one to be aware of the potential risks and follow simple precautions to reduce the likelihood of the batteries overheating.

“We also know that regardless of the cause, devastating incidents like this make people think about fire safety in general at home and as well as having lots of information on our website, our fire safety team will be in the Sackville Close area over the next few days to share advice and offer reassurance.”

The service issued advice, urging people to avoid charging the battery of an e-bike or e-scooter overnight and to not leave it charging for any longer than it needs to fully charge.

Emergency services were called to the flats at 1.08am on Friday, with more than 30 firefighters attending.

Crews arrived to find smoke issuing from the ground and first floor of a two-storey maisonette.

The fire service said crews worked hard to extinguish the fire and prevent it from spreading to neighbouring properties.

A man in his 30s managed to escape the flat before crews arrived, but he suffered serious injuries and was taken to hospital in a critical condition.