Eyewitness News 7 has reported that a fire occurred in the Riis Houses located at 454 E 10th St, New York, NY 10009.
On Thursday, December 16, 2021, at approximately 7:15 a.m., a fire broke out on the fourth floor of the apartment complex. Residents in the apartment building, run by the New York City Housing Authority, or NYCHA, described a large explosion before the building was engulfed in flames and smoke. Many of the building's windows were blown out, along with a wall where two teens were sleeping. The blast woke them up, and they were forced to slide down a pole outside the building to get to safety. They suffered minor burns and smoke inhalation. Four other victims were injured, while one man was found dead after being trapped in a rear room.
Fire officials located several electric bikes in the building and have attributed the cause of the fire to their lithium-ion batteries. FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said he recently saw an increase in fires sparked by these batteries. Additionally, standard inspections of the building had been put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, many housing authorities officials say they should be reinstated to help prevent unauthorized storage of electronic bikes.
Attorney contributor Laurence Banville is an experienced lithium-ion battery fire injury lawyer. He represents victims injured in fires caused by the batteries. During a recent interview, he covered when a victim can sue for lithium-ion battery fire injuries.
"We often don't think to consider the dangers of some of our daily electronic devices. Lithium-ion batteries can be found in many of the devices we use every day. They are used in laptops, cell phones, vaping devices, electric scooters, e-bikes, hoverboards, and even electric cars. Normally, rechargeable super batteries pose users no threat, but sometimes they overheat, causing them to explode, setting fire to their surroundings. This can be due to user errors often resulting from manufacturing defects."
"More than 5,000 fires caused by these batteries have been reported each year since 2014. However, it is each manufacturer's responsibility to ensure the products they sell are safe for consumers. This includes the design, manufacturing process, and marketing data. When a product repeatedly has defects and safety is neglected, a manufacturer can be deemed liable."
"When the manufacturer is aware of the product's dangers but continues to sell the product, they can be considered negligent. Victims should consult with an experienced lithium-ion battery fire injury lawyer to help navigate the complex legal process. Compensation may be awarded to victims of negligence through civil lawsuits."