New South Wales raises alarm over 6 Li battery fires a week

New South Wales raises alarm over 6 Li battery fires a week

New South Wales raises alarm over 6 Li battery fires a week 1024 783 Batteries International

March 21, 2024: Lithium ion battery fires are occurring at a rate of nearly six every week in the Australian state of New South Wales, fire chiefs revealed on March 15.

Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) said firefighters responded to four separate incidents on March 14 alone — including an EV charging station that had caught fire.

In another incident on that day the driver of a garbage truck was forced to tip burning rubbish onto the highway after a fire broke out.

Firefighters called to the scene found one battery and around 150 lithium ion battery cells among the rubbish had entered thermal runaway.

Separately, an e-bike burst into flames on the third floor of a 10-storey apartment block in Sydney forcing the early-morning evacuation of residents while 25 firefighters tackled the blaze.

FRNSW said it has recorded 63 lithium ion battery fires to date this year, details of which are subject to review, but indicate a rate of 5.7 blazes a week. Seven people have been injured in the fires.

There were 272 Li battery-related fires in 2023, at a rate of 5.2 a week and 38 people were injured last year.

FRNSW has reiterated safety warnings including not to sleep or leave home while lithium ion battery-powered  devices are charging.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said in a report published last October there had been a six-fold increase in media reports relating to lithium battery incidents between February 2021 and February 2023, 23 recalls between January 2017 and December 2022 involving lithium batteries and products containing them and one fatality in the country attributed to a lithium battery fire as well as numerous reports of injuries.

The organization called for a harmonized electrical safety regulatory framework across all states to help combat fires and other incidents linked to lithium battery products.

Graphic courtesy FRNSW. Micromobility refers to e-bikes, e-scooters, mobility scooters or golf carts.