An e-bike owner has been caught on camera running for his life when his motorised bike randomly exploded into a fireball after its battery erupted. Hospital chef Mr Gooransingh, 29 was left shocked when the vehicle burst into flames at a block of flats and produced a cloud of toxic vapour when he returned home from work.
CCTV footage from the entrance of Gooransingh’s home shows the bike’s battery erupt. The explosion quickly produced a white and grey coloured highly flammable and toxic vapour cloud into the air, which ignited into a fireball a second later.
Mr Gooransingh, who lives in London narrowly avoided the fire and was able to run back into his flat. He shares the apartment with his mother and sister, and while they were left in shock, no one was hurt.
Firefighters were quickly on the scene and safely put out the fire. London Fire Brigade has been unable to determine exactly why the bike exploded, but Mr Gooransingh knew something was not quite right because of the smell.
Mr Gooransingh, who used his e-bike to commute to and from work, said: “I arrived home and there was such a potent smell. I asked my sister if she was using nail polish remover but she replied no and said it was coming from my bike.
“I smelt the bike and I immediately thought something might be wrong so I thought the safest thing to do would be to get the bike out of the flat.
“When the bike exploded, I panicked. I thought my family was going to die, especially if I hadn’t moved it. My sister and I ran back into the flat and called 999.”
The startling video reinforces why London Fire Brigade (LFB) has been running its #ChargeSafe campaign, which aims to highlight the fire risks associated with lithium batteries commonly used with e-bikes. The Brigade has been called to 52 e-bike and 12 e-scooter fires so far in 2023, including one incident that sadly proved to be fatal on New Year’s Day.
LFB Deputy Commissioner Dom Ellis said: “Although we can’t be sure why this particular battery failed, we do know that Avi’s e-bike was purchased second-hand and that an additional battery pack, bought from an online marketplace, had been fitted.
“Cheaper batteries purchased from online sources which don’t necessarily adhere to UK safety regulations are more likely to fail and present an increased fire risk.
"Our advice is also to buy from a reputable seller. As the video clearly shows, once the bike goes into thermal runaway, it can lead to a rapid and ferocious fire.
“Thankfully, Avi and his family were unharmed. There’s no doubt this could have been a lot more serious which is why our advice is to store these items in a safe location if possible, such as a garage or a shed rather than inside the home.”
Mr Gooransingh says the experience has put him off having an e-bike or scooter.
He said: “I’m definitely shaken up by what happened and I’m definitely not having one in my home again."
He added: “If you do own an e-bike or scooter, I would recommend charging and storing it outside, and if you can’t, then seriously think about whether you should buy one.”
As part of the campaign, LFB outlined safety tips for e-bike and e-scooter users, urging people not to block escape routes, check the battery and charger meets UK safety standards and always use the correct and official charger from a reputable seller.
People must also let the battery cool before charging, unplug the charger once it’s finished charging and fit alarms wherever they may charge, experts warned.