Fires sparked by electric bike batteries are causing a wave of concern among New York City lawmakers. One idea being proposed to prevent these fast moving fires is safe, public charging stations.
City Council member Gale Brewer suggested allowing delivery workers to charge lithium-ion batteries at a fire or police station instead of inside apartment buildings.
Earlier this month, an e-bike battery burst into flames and completely destroyed a Bronx building.
"It seemed to me that might be a solution to the very big problem of the people who deliver our food not having a place to charge their batteries and as a result they are charging them in very dangerous places like basements, back of shops and places where fires are started," Brewer told FOX 5 New York.
The fire department said batteries in e-bikes, electric scooters and other devices have caused more than 200 fires in New York City in the last year.
"Any battery charged at a city facility would have to have a seal on it indicating it was a good battery; otherwise it could not be charged," according to the New York City Council.
FILE - An electric bike with a battery sits parked outside of a Bronx supermarket the day after a 5-alarm fire tore through a market that fire officials are blaming on a faulty lithium-ion battery on March 06, 2023 in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Former New York City Fire Commissioner Thomas von Essen, who was in charge during 9/11, agreed that something more needs to be done and soon but he does not support Brewer's proposal.
A multi-language public service announcement would be more effective and immediate, according to von Essen.
"What they really need is a massive public safety campaign or public service messages to get it out there to the folks that really need it the most. The poor men and women that are using these bikes for low-income jobs. And those are the ones I think that we need to reach in different languages. And I think we need to do it as quickly as possible," von Essen added.
City Council did place restrictions on sales of re-assembled batteries which can be more combustible.
It's not clear what the current FDNY commissioner thinks about charging e-bikes and scooters at a firehouse. The FDNY said the matter is under review.