House erupts into flames after homeowner investigates popping noise

Lithium battery danger highlighted in horrifying video

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A horrifying video shows the moment a fire ravaged a house after the homeowner went downstairs to investigate a “popping” sound. All was fairly quiet and still in the middle of the night until the man was woken by the noise.

As he rushed downstairs to see where the sound was coming from, the fire dramatically erupted and the room was filled with flames.

The popping sound was coming from the batteries of an electric motorbike being charged inside the house.

The sound indicated the batteries were failing due to thermal runway – this is when too much heat is generated within a battery.

Five people were taken to hospital suffering from smoke inhalation and one person also had burns to their mouth and windpipe due to the fire which happened at around 1am on February 24.

None of the injuries was life-threatening.

The kitchen was severely damaged from the smoke and heat, which also affected other parts of the house as doors were left open as people escaped from the blaze.

The homeowner in Illingworth, West Yorkshire, allowed West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service to have the video to warn others about the dangers of lithium batteries.

Watch manager John Cavalier, who is with the fire investigation unit at the service, said: “While fires involving lithium batteries are common, having a video showing the violence of the fire’s development is not.”

He added: “It’s clear to see in the video that the fire is absolutely horrifying – none of us would want this to happen in our homes.”

“Because lithium batteries can be found in a range of items, we frequently attend fires involving them.

“They can be found in cars, bikes, scooters, laptops, phones, and e-cigarettes, amongst many other items.

“Any other type of fire we deal with has usually developed slowly, and people are able to get out quickly.

“However, battery fires are so ferocious and spread so quickly that there isn’t as much time to escape.

“To help keep everyone in your family safe, don’t leave lithium batteries to charge unattended, don’t put them in the way of exits or in hallways and unplug chargers when the batteries are at full capacity.

“I’d like to thank the owner of the house who gave us permission to use the video – it clearly shows the dangers associated with lithium batteries and could help to save lives.”

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The WYFRS has produced a list of 10 tips to help people charge lithium batteries safely.

  • Always use the correct and branded charger for the battery.
  • Buy the correct and branded replacement battery for the device.
  • Do not use batteries with damaged casings, or casings that may be damaged.
  • Do not use batteries that appear swollen or appear to have deformed in any way.
  • Avoid storing, using, or charging batteries at very high or low temperatures.
  • Don’t leave batteries continuously on charge. Once the charging cycle is complete, remove the battery from the charger.
  • Charge batteries away from combustible items and preferably where they can be monitored.
  • Never cover chargers or charging devices, for example a laptop and/or its power pack on or under bedding.
  • When travelling by air, lithium batteries must be carried in your hand luggage.
  • Don’t leave batteries unattended or charge them anywhere that blocks your exits

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