A lithium-ion battery in an electric scooter has been suspected to be the cause of a fire that ripped through a Scarborough garage and spread to a three-story apartment block – leaving a half-million dollar damage bill.
Firefighters battled for almost two hours around 9am on Thursday to put out the Filburn Street blaze. About 45 minutes later, the three-story unit at the back of the complex was engulfed in flames.
At the height of the fire, 20 fire engines struggled to control the blaze.
It was cleared around 10:45 a.m.
Fire investigators believe the fire was accidentally started by a lithium-ion battery in an electric scooter in the garage and then spread to the house.
The fire comes just weeks after authorities launched a campaign warning of the danger posed by battery-powered devices like e-scooters.
Ambulance Services Minister Stephen Dawson said at the time that while the number of home fires in WA had fallen from 690 to about 606 in the past four years, the prevalence of home fires caused by lithium batteries had almost doubled (27 to 50).
About 15 of these fires were related to e-scooters.
To demonstrate how quickly a fire can escalate, firefighters charged an electric scooter, brought the batteries to ignition temperature, and recorded how quickly it escalated. It only took eight to ten minutes for the fire to sweep through the room.
Mr Dawson said many fires have been started in sheds, which traditionally have not had fire alarms and have often been used to charge batteries for items such as tools and e-scooters.
“In recent years, we’ve seen more people with scooters, cell phones, laptops and iPads in their homes, leaving them in unsafe situations,” he said.
“Fires can heat up very, very quickly and have a significant impact on your home.
“Don’t be complacent. If you use e-scooters or cell phones, make sure you don’t leave them unattended as this could wreak havoc on your home.”
The Department of Fire and Emergency Services says residents in the area of the Scarborough fire should no longer be affected by smoke.
However, people should avoid the area if possible as rescue workers are still on site and firefighters will be patrolling the property for the remainder of the day.
Those with health concerns should contact their Health Direct doctor on 1800 022 222.
https://www.perthnow.com.au/local-news/perthnow-stirling/scarborough-fire-e-scooter-battery-blamed-for-perth-unit-blaze-causing-500000-damage-c-7765887 Scarborough fire: E-scooter battery blamed for Perth unit fire causing $500,000 damage