SPENCER, Mass. (WWLP) – Rechargeable devices such as power tools, cellphones, laptops, e-bikes, and even electric toothbrushes use lithium-ion batteries.
These products should be unplugged after they are finished charging to prevent a fire or explosion. A lithium-ion battery fire releases pressurized white “smoke” moments before it ignites flammable and toxic gases.
On Wednesday, firefighters in Spencer were called to a reported kitchen fire on Gold Nugget Road. When crews arrived at the home at 1:00 a.m., the only thing they found was a Ryobi lithium-ion battery that had been on a charger for a week and a half had caught fire on the counter and was in the sink.
There were also no working smoke detectors in the home, so the fire department will be installing the correct and new detectors.
On Tuesday, a lithium-ion battery caught a Millers Falls home on fire. The homeowner called 911 and used a fire extinguisher to slow the fire. According to the Tuners Falls Fire Department, the battery was not on its charger at the time of the fire.
This fire serves as a reminder that if you are using a lithium-ion battery in a charger, remove it as soon as it is charged and make sure to use the correct charger and batteries together.
Lithium-Ion Battery Safety Tips
- Purchase and use devices that are listed by a qualified testing laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL)
- Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions
- Only use the battery and charging cord that is designed for the device
- Do not charge a device under your pillow, on your bed, or on a couch
- Plug the charger directly into a wall outlet, not a power strip or extension cord
- Do not keep charging the device or device battery after it is fully charged
- Keep batteries at room temperature when possible
- Do not charge them at temperatures below 32°F (0°C) or above 105°F (40°C).
- Do not leave them in a hot car, in direct sunlight, or in freezing temperatures
- Store batteries away from anything that can catch fire
- Store scooters and e-bikes outdoors if possible. If you must store them indoors, keep them away from doors, windows, and stairways
- Have working smoke alarms and a home escape plan that includes two ways out
It is illegal to throw away lithium-ion batteries in the trash. For a location near you visit call2recycle.org/locator/, some places include Staples, Lowe’s, and Home Depot.
Common devices that have a lithium-ion battery
- Cell phones
- Bluetooth headphones
- Electric toothbrushes
- Game controllers
- Solar power backup storage
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