The fire started around 1 pm at 565 W. 190th Street in Fort George and while original reports suspected that the blaze was sparked by lithium-ion batteries stemming from an e-bike, FDNY Commissioner Laura Kavanagh revealed that those allegations are false, New York Post reports.
Kavanagh confirmed that the cause of the fire was lithium batteries found inside the apartment unit, not from an e-bike that was staged outside the building during the time of the tragedy, according to the outlet.
"There was a bike that was pulled out and set in front of the building and initially — and incorrectly — people decided that bike was the case of the fire, which it was not," the commissioner said. "But once the marshals were able to get into the apartment they found a battery and that battery was the cause of the fire."
Kavanagh said there were "multiple lithium-ion batteries" in the fourth-floor apartment where the fire started.The FDNY commissioner warned about the dangers of lithium-ion batteries and said that these batteries have caused 76 fires so far this year, which has killed seven people, and injured 60 others. This total has already surpassed last year's.
“It is quickly becoming one of the leading causes of fire deaths this year,” Kavanagh said, according to NY Post.
"And we want to emphasize again: These fires are extremely dangerous. They create a large volume of fire very quickly and present significant threats to New Yorkers who try to get out of their homes and to our members as they respond to these calls," she explained, adding "Please, please use these devices the way they’re supposed to be used."
The identities of the victims in Sunday's fire have not yet been disclosed.
The NYFD commission said that 45 people in NYC have been killed in fires so far this year.
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