London Fire Brigade (LFB) have issued a warning over the safe use of lithium-ion batteries after a fire believed to be cause by one destroyed an entire flat in South London this week.
The blaze engulfed the home on St James’s Road in Croydon and prompted a heavy response from LFB crews in the area after they were called around 5.43am on Wednesday, November 18.
The fire was so severe that around eight fire engines and some 60 firefighters were needed to tackle it, with the blaze only coming under control in the moments before 8am thanks to their efforts.
“Crews worked hard to bring the fire under control. Thankfully, no one was hurt,” Station Commander Danny Slay, who was at the scene, said.
We’re sharing our tips for using lithium ion-batteries safely after a flat fire in #Croydon yesterday. Make sure you protect batteries from being damaged or immersed in water and don’t leave items on charge after the charge cycle is complete https://t.co/yJoCXcfvGv pic.twitter.com/xF7xmfiKFF
— London Fire Brigade (@LondonFire) November 19, 2020
A man left the property before the fire crews arrived, as did several neighbours, all of whom were unhurt.
The Brigade’s Fire Investigators believe the fire was accidental and involved a lithium-ion battery.
LFB as such issued the following safety advice for the batteries, which are commonly found in portable electronic devices such as laptops and phones:
- Avoid storing, using or charging batteries at very high or low temperatures.
- Protect batteries against being damaged – that’s crushed, punctured or immersed in water.
- Don’t leave items continuously on charge after the charge cycle is complete
- When you travel, avoid keeping all your items containing lithium ion batteries together, especially on a plane. Check with your flight carrier for additional information or advice.
Commander Slay added that hoarding at the site of the fire also frustrated fire crews efforts to deal with it quickly and safely:
“”There were a lot of possessions and clutter in the property which made it challenging for crews.
“Hoarding means exit routes can become blocked, making safe evacuation more difficult.
“Fires can also spread much faster, especially where there are flammable items such as newspapers or cardboard,” he said.