Monday, a 7-year-old and a 19-year-old were slain in a house fire caused by an e-bike battery, according to officials.
According to WNBC, the fire broke out in the vestibule of a 46th Street apartment building in Astoria, Queens, and rapidly spread to the second floor, where a man and his six children resided.
Assisted by numerous neighbors, the father and several of his children were able to escape through a second-story window.
A neighbor from across the street reported to The New York Times that after capturing one of the children, he observed two others pleading for assistance from the window before they vanished from view.
"We told them to jump, we cought two kids, Father and another kid jumped out of the window and got cought" – neighbor rushed to help as apartment engulfed in flames, killing two people this afternoon in Astoria, Queens.
Video by Ken Lopez (FNTV https://t.co/rhaCXIA0Nv) https://t.co/LexuSb9cSa pic.twitter.com/C3PPmFifr0
— FreedomNews.Tv FNTV (@FreedomNTV) April 10, 2023
Two of the six children did not survive: a girl aged 19 and a son aged 7. The Times reports that their mother also resided in the apartment, but was absent during the incident.
WNBC reported that another person was injured and transported to a local hospital.
According to the Times, the fire is believed to have been caused by a lithium-ion battery that was being charged near the front entrance of the downstairs apartment.
We had a terrible tragedy here today. A fire started on the first floor in the vestibule. The cause of the fire was an e-bike – said Chief of Department Hodgens from the scene of a 2-alarm fire which killed two people in Queens this afternoon. Read more: https://t.co/xjdPl7NZFx pic.twitter.com/SWA2nEXskR
— FDNY (@FDNY) April 10, 2023
WNBC reported that first responders were notified of the fire around 2:00 p.m. and, with the assistance of over 100 fire personnel, had it under control within an hour.
At that point, the fire had caused extensive damage to the building, from the front to the rear and up to the roof.
According to WNBC, fire officials have warned that e-bikes have caused more than 60 flames in the city this year, resulting in the deaths of five people.
“If this was not an e-bike fire, most likely we would’ve been able to put this fire out without incident,” Department Chief John Hodgens said, according to an FDNY Instagram post.
“This bike was right at the front door of the house and the occupants didn’t have a chance to get out of the building.
“The way these fires occur, it’s like an explosion of fire, and these occupants have very little chance of escaping.”
Chief Fire Marshal Dan Flynn speculated that the e-bike’s use of an aftermarket charger caused the fire on Monday.
Officials from the FDNY urged consumers not to do this.
“We know people have e-bikes and similar micro-mobility devices, and we are imploring users to follow all manufacturer safety guidelines and recommendations,” Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh said in a statement, the Times reported.
Nydia Velázquez, a Democrat representing New York’s 7th congressional district, conveyed her sorrow over the deaths of the two children and their grieving families.
“We MUST do more to protect New Yorkers from these fires and save lives,” she wrote on Twitter.
More on this story via The Western Journal:
“We need federal legislation to address this issue,” Velasquez added in another tweet. “In March, I introduced legislation to create safe and publicly accessible charging stations to help get these batteries out of homes and reduce the risk of fires.” CONTINUE READING…