Coroner demands tighter laws on e-bike batteries after father-of-two is tragically killed in horror flat fire which broke out when bike he was charging went up in flames
- Mizanur Rahman, 41, died after the fourth-floor flat in London caught fire
A coroner has demanded tighter laws on e-bike batteries after a father was killed in a London flat fire which broke out when the bike he was charging went up in flames.
Mizanur Rahman, 41, died after the fourth-floor flat in Maddocks House on Cornwall Street, Shadewell, set alight in the early hours of March 5.
He was unable to evacuate from the building as his flat was engulfed in smoke.
The father-of-two became the ninth fatality in the past year in fires attributed to faulty lithium ion batteries.
The London Fire Brigade revealed there have been more e-bike and e-scooter fires in London in 2023 so far than in the whole of any previous year.
Mizanur Rahman, 41, (pictured) was killed in a London flat fire which broke out when the bike he was charging went up in flames
Assistant coroner for Inner North London, Adam Smith, has written to the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS), calling for tighter regulations.
The London inquest heard Mr Rahman died from the effects of smoke inhalation during the blaze in the three-roomed flat.
The fire was caused by a faulty lithium ion e-bike battery which was charging at the time.
The e-bike, which was owned by another occupant of the flat, had been heavily modified, notably including a retro-fitted additional battery cage and motor.
It was found the fire started with a ‘faulty lithium ion battery’ – most likely a battery and charger which did not match and carried different voltage ratings, leading to thermal runaway and catastrophic failure of the lithium ion battery.
Despite attempts to stop the fire, Mr Rahman was unable to evacuate in time and was ‘overcome by smoke’, tragically causing his death.
In a Prevention of Future Deaths report, assistant coroner Mr Smith revealed ‘matters giving rise to concern’ heard at Mr Rahman’s inquest about e-bike batteries.
He referred to evidence provided by the London Fire Brigade’s Fire Investigation, highlighting Mr Rahman’s death being the ninth in six fires across the country just this year, believed to have been caused by faulty lithium ion batteries.
The father-of-two died after the fourth-floor flat in Maddocks House on Cornwall Street, Shadewell (pictured) set alight in the early hours of March 5
‘The number of fires in London attributed to electric powered personal vehicles has risen consistently and significantly over the last six years and now stands at well in excess of 100 per annum,’ he wrote.
‘There is presently no British or European (eg BSI or PAS) standard to control what lithium ion e-bike batteries and chargers can be sold in the UK.
‘Consequently it is easy for people to buy (including online) lithium ion batteries that are not of sufficient quality or otherwise not of an appropriate standard to charge safely.
‘There is an increased risk of people mixing and matching lithium ion batteries with chargers that carry a different voltage rating.
READ MORE: Revealed: London firefighters have put out blazes from faulty e-bikes and e-scooters every two days since start of 2023
‘The OPSS has the ability to introduce such a standard.
‘When a lithium ion battery is charged using a charger with a different voltage rating, this can lead to thermal runaway and catastrophic failure of the battery – a build up of heat, failure of one of the cells within the battery, followed by a chain reaction as the remaining cells fail, all of which can happen quickly and explosively with the emission of sparks and toxic, flammable vapours.’
While acknowledging a product safety review was ‘underway’, he added it was ‘clear that there is an existing, ongoing and future risk of further deaths’ until its results are published.
Addressing the OPSS, he concluded: ‘This report is being provided to you given my understanding that the OPSS has the ability to introduce an appropriate standard.
‘Insofar as this power may lie elsewhere, or other individuals or organisations (whether or not involved in the current product safety review) would need to have input into the introduction of such a standard, you are requested to share this report with those individuals/organisations.
‘In my opinion, action should be taken to prevent future deaths and I believe that you have the power to take such action.’
He added that the OPSS is under a duty to respond by October 24.
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