Lithium-Ion battery fires


Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) crews have saved a home from a large Lithium-Ion battery fire at Warrawee, on Sydney’s upper north shore.

A resident was charging the battery, used to power a leaf blower, in the carport of the home in Finlay Road, just before 5pm yesterday, when the cells went into ‘thermal runaway,’ catching fire.

The flames destroyed the carport which collapsed.

Neighbours used garden hoses in an attempt to extinguish the fire on the battle-axe property.

Five FRNSW appliances were quickly on scene and firefighters, in breathing apparatus, used two hose-lines to prevent the fire and smoke spreading to the adjacent house.

No-one was injured in the incident and all occupants and pets were accounted for.

Firefighters believe the battery might have been over-charged.

FRNSW reminds the public to:

  • Be aware that lithium-ion batteries are prone to reignite after the initial fire has been extinguished
  • Buy Lithium-Ion products and batteries from reputable suppliers that meet Australian standards
  • Only use cords and chargers supplied with the device…don’t use inferior, replacement components
  • Never charge devices while you are sleeping, away from the home or in places that could block your escape
  • Not over-charge batteries. Switch off any cells once fully charged to avoid over-heating
  • Try to charge micromobility devices like e-bikes and e-scooters outside, away from the home
  • Charge in a clear non-combustible area near a smoke alarm.
  • Note that any strong odours, extreme heat, colour change, deformity or strange sounds could indicate a problem with a Lithium-ion battery. Have it checked by a professional

Lithium-Ion batteries can enter ‘thermal runaway’ when they overheat or are damaged.

This leads to an off-gassing of toxic gas, often followed by an explosion and fire that’s generally very difficult to extinguish.

If a Lithium-Ion battery fire does occur, people should immediately seek a safe area and call Triple-Zero (000).

For more information, visit: [external link]