PF&R Responds to Lithium-Ion Battery-Powered Scooter Fire in Apartment Building This Morning (Photo)

May 07, 2024 13:35


On May 7th, 2024 at 8:50 am, Portland Fire & Rescue crews responded to a reported apartment fire in the Piedmont neighborhood, with a resident reporting a fire on the second floor of the building and that he heard an explosion. Upon their arrival 5 minutes later, crews found that the fire alarm was activated with residents gathered outside of the building. Crews immediately commenced fire attack as well as search and rescue operations.

Upon accessing the interior of the building, crews reported light smoke on the first floor and that the second and third floor hallways—as well as the east stairwell—were fully charged with smoke. They also found that a sprinkler head was activated in the east stairwell. Upon further investigation, crews found the source of the fire: a lithium-ion battery-powered scooter had ignited and was found on a landing of the east stairwell, between the 2nd and 3rd floors. The fire was contained to the scooter and did not extend to the structure. Firefighters moved the scooter to the exterior of the building and then began ventilation and water-removal operations. There were no reported injuries.

Portland Fire & Rescue would like remind Portlanders that lithium-ion batteries store a large amount of energy and can pose a threat if not treated properly. These batteries are found in electric bikes and scooters, cars, laptops, tablets, phones, and common household devices. Like any product, a small number of these batteries can be defective and can overheat, catch fire, or explode. Lithium-ion battery fires have caused deaths, injuries, and serious fires nationwide. These fires burn hot and fast and can emit large amounts of toxic smoke.

If using any devices powered by lithium-ion batteries:

--Be sure any equipment has the Underwriter Laboratories (UL) mark.

--Follow manufacturers’ instructions for charging and storage.

--Do not charge a device under your pillow, on your bed, or on a couch.

--Keep batteries/devices stored at room temperature. Do not place in direct sunlight.

--Store batteries away from anything flammable.

--Do not charge or store battery operated devices or scooters in stairways/stairwells, in exit pathways, or in front of exit doors. We recommend actively charging this equipment only while you are home. 

--If a battery overheats or you notice an odor, change in shape/color, cracks, leaking, or odd noises coming from a device, discontinue use immediately. If safe to do so, move the device away from anything that can catch fire and call 911.

--Inspect all lithium-ion battery-powered equipment and chargers for frayed or cracked cords and replace if necessary.

For safe battery disposal/recycling information, please see this link from the Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability: