Since a second-hand electric scooter with water damage caused a fire at a Sydney home, firefighters have found 40 others which could have blown up at a moment’s notice.
Fire and Rescue NSW Assistant Commissioner Trent Curtin said the faulty vehicles could have caused dozens of potential house fires.
“These damaged e-scooters were effectively ticking time bombs, ready to explode inside family homes across New South Wales,” he said.
That was the case for a father and son from Sydney’s Northern Beaches area who on Tuesday left their e-scooter to charge overnight.
They woke to their living room in flames – the scooter’s lithium-ion battery had ignited and sparked a fire that threatened to engulf their home.
Luckily, the pair moved the scooter outside and called firefighters who put out the blaze.
An Fire and Rescue NSW investigation found the vehicle was one of 40 water-damaged e-scooters sold at a discount by an online auction house.
The company has worked with Fair Trading NSW to contact e-scooter purchasers to alert them of the risk, and offer full refunds.
The fire follows another e-scooter blaze at a home in southeast Queensland, where one man was taken to hospital in a serious condition and a woman and two children were also hospitalised for smoke inhalation.
That incident came less than a week after an e-scooter fire in Brisbane left five people in hospital with burns.
Fire and Rescue NSW spokesperson Adam Dewberry said people must exercise extreme caution around any device with a lithium-ion battery, which includes laptops, smartphones and other electronic devices.
“Lithium-ion battery fires are extremely dangerous. They ignite readily, they burn with a lot of intensity, and they reignite without notice,” he told AAP.
“People have put them out and thought they had it contained, only to later lose their homes.”
If anyone sees a battery that is bulging, overheating, or has caught fire, Mr Dewberry suggested calling triple-zero immediately so firefighters can be dispatched and advice offered on how to handle the flames.
Civilians should not directly touch or move ignited batteries unless emergency workers say it is safe to do so, Mr Dewberry said.