Camden Council and London Fire Brigade urge safe e-bike and e-scooter charging following fatal fire in Gospel Oak

Camden Council and the London Fire Brigade are urging residents to follow guidance for charging and storing electric bikes and scooters safely due to safety concerns about overheating lithium batteries.

Last week, a resident living in a Camden council home sadly died in a house fire. Initial indications show that the fire is likely to have been caused by an e-bike lithium battery. The London Fire Brigade are continuing their investigation into the fire.

Camden Council has today reminded its council tenants that they should not store or charge e-bikes, scooters, or wheelchairs in the communal areas of their building.

The Council is committed to encouraging sustainable travel in the borough and will be commencing engagement with residents on the safe charging of e-bikes, scooters, and wheelchairs in residential buildings.

Councillor Georgia Gould, Leader of Camden Council

All of our thoughts and sympathies remain with the family and friends of the resident who tragically lost his life in a fire last week and we are continuing to support those who have been affected at this very difficult time. We await the full investigation report into the fire from the London Fire Brigade.

However, given what we know from initial findings, we cannot delay in getting a message about safe charging out to our residents. Charging lithium batteries have been overheating and causing fires across the country – and so we urge all residents not to charge their e-bikes or e-scooters, or devices like mobile phones or tablets, when they are asleep and to check that their batteries and chargers meet UK safety standards.

By following the London Fire Brigade’s advice for charging batteries, residents can keep themselves and their neighbours safe.

Councillor Georgia Gould, Leader of Camden Council

Firefighters from stations in Camden and the surrounding area attended a significant fire in Kentish Town last Thursday, where sadly a resident lost their life. Our fire investigators believe the most probable cause of the fire is due to a lithium battery pack failure, that was charging an e-bike. I would like to remind all residents to follow our advice to store and charge your e-vehicles safely, and only buy from a reputable seller. Our full advice can be found on the Brigade’s website. Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the deceased at this difficult time.

David George, London Fire Brigade Borough Commander for Camden

How can you reduce the risk of fire when you charge an e-bike or e-scooter?

Last year the London Fire Brigade attended over 116 fires involving e-bikes and e-scooters and so far, on average this year they have been called to a related fire once every two days.

The advice from the London Fire Brigade on charging batteries is to:

  • Not to block your exit with charging batteries or e-bike and e-scooters. If a fire breaks out, you won’t be able to safely leave your home. Store them in a shed or garage where possible
  • Keep an eye out for warning signs that your battery might be failing and becoming a fire risk
  • Never leave your battery to charge when you are out or whilst you sleep
  • Make sure your battery and charger meet UK safety standards
  • Use the correct charger for your battery, and make sure to buy from a reputable seller
  • Let your battery cool before charging it
  • Unplug your charger once the battery has charged
  • Fit smoke alarms in the area where you charge your batteries