A recent fire at a warehouse in the UK has once again highlighted the dangers of lithium battery fires. The fire broke out at a distribution center for CareCo mobility scooters in Essex and required the presence of firefighters for over 12 hours. The cause of the fire was deemed to be accidental.
The fire was described as challenging to tackle due to the nature of lithium battery fires. Thermal runaway, a chain reaction in which a fire in one cell spreads to neighboring cells, can cause the battery to reignite. In this case, spraying water on the battery was necessary to cool down the cells over an extended period of time rather than smothering the fire.
The risk assessment manager and MD loss prevention of TT Club, Neil Dalus, and Mike Yarwood, emphasized the dangers of lithium battery fires, not only due to the fire itself but also the toxic gases emitted in the smoke. While firefighters are equipped with breathing apparatus and personal protection equipment (PPE), it is often the first responders armed with fire extinguishers who are most susceptible to the risks.
Although no injuries have been reported in the recent fire, it serves as a reminder of the hazards associated with lithium batteries. The statement from CareCo expressed gratitude to the Essex County Fire and Rescue Service for their swift response.
The incident follows a tragic electric car battery fire on the Panama-flagged Fremantle Highway, which resulted in the death of an Indian seafarer. These incidents highlight the need for proper safety measures and awareness when handling and storing lithium batteries.
– Photo: Essex County Fire & Rescue Service
– Bartlett, C. (2023, September 18). Warehouse fire in UK caused by lithium battery. Retrieved from [URL]