This is the dramatic moment firefighters rescued a man dangling from a window in his East London flat while trying to escape an e-bike fire.
The fire broke out on the third-floor of the apartment building in Whitechapel in the early hours of Wednesday, February 7, leaving its interior gutted by fire and smoke.
Two people managed to escape from the flat. Two men who could not escape because their exit was blocked by fire were rescued by firefighters from windows using ladders.
One woman was taken to hospital as a precaution for smoke inhalation.
Danny McLaughlin, 64, a neighbour who captured the rescue on his phone, said: ‘I heard shouting that woke me up. I looked out of one of my windows and saw one of the men hanging from a third-floor window ledge in the neighbouring block.
The man was spotted dangling from the window ledge of a third floor flat in Whitechapel in the early hours of Wednesday, February 7
Fire fighters managed to bring the man to safety, holding his legs to stop him falling
‘His legs were being held, to stop him falling, by a neighbour in the window of the flat below the fire.
‘There were lots of other residents watching what was going on including some who had left the block where the fire was.
‘The fire brigade arrived quickly and a firefighter climbed a ladder which had been manoeuvred into position and the man was safely brought down.
‘A lot of residents are now worried about the prospect of e-bike or e-scooter battery fires in these blocks and whether we will be trapped or hurt if another incident occurs.’
The fire is being treated as accidental and is believed to have been caused by the failure of a lithium battery pack for a converted e-bike that was charging in the hallway of the flat.
Borough Commander for Tower Hamlets, Richard Tapp, said: ‘This is sadly yet another example in our borough of the dangers e-bikes and e-scooters can pose if the battery fails catastrophically and catches fire.
‘This can be caused by reasons including counterfeit or unsafe products being sold online, the wrong charger being used, or if components are fitted or used incorrectly.
‘My crews were on scene in four minutes and quickly and professionally set about rescuing two people as well as tackling the fire.
‘A number of e-bikes were being stored in the hallway and this fire shows just how dangerous blocking your escape route can be.
‘You should keep an e-bike or e-scooter outside or in a shed. If this is not possible, put it in a room where you can shut a door and contain a fire.
‘Although the smoke alarm sounded, this incident also highlights the risks of charging whilst people are sleeping as there is less time to react before the fire intensifies.’
E-bikes and e-scooters have become London’s fastest-growing fire trend with a fire once every two days in 2023 on average. There was a 78 per cent increase in e-bike fires in 2023 compared to 2022.
The service states that fires often occur when the lithium batteries that power these vehicles fail and explode.
Batteries can fail for a number of reasons; if they have been built poorly, are fake or counterfeit, are damaged, overcharged or the incorrect charger is used.
The Brigade’s Assistant Commissioner for Fire Safety, Charlie Pugsley, said: ‘The lithium batteries that power these vehicles have failed catastrophically and caused devastating fires. We’re asking people to check whether they have a UPP battery at home. If you do, stop using it right away, and contact the seller.
‘Often, these batteries fail if they are used with the wrong charger, are faulty, counterfeit or become damaged.’
Six fire engines and around 40 firefighters tackled the fire in Whitechapel. The service was called at 4.44am and it took one hour and ten minutes to being the blaze under control.
More than a dozen firefighters with specialist gear (pictured) from three fire engines rushed to battle the blaze at the Royal Courts of Justice on Tuesday
Bosses at London Fire Brigade (LFB) believe the fire was caused by a lithium battery
Elsewhere, more than a dozen firefighters with specialist gear from three fire engines rushed to battle a blaze at the Royal Courts of Justice on Tuesday.
Bosses at London Fire Brigade (LFB) believe the fire was also caused by a lithium battery.
The fire destroyed part of a ground floor storage room and caused chaos outside as it disrupted traffic in the Strand, London.
In December last year, a man was killed in a blaze believed to have been caused by another lithium battery failure.
Mohsin Janjua, 28, did not realise his brother had already escaped through the back window when he dashed back into a blazing terraced house in Bradford.
Janjua had previously been pictured on the back of his black and red mountain bike – with fire service investigators later revealing that the terrifying blaze was started by its lithium battery.
The electric bike had been left on charge in the living room, where the blaze broke out at 5am on Saturday, December 2, and destroyed the house, leaving the family homeless.
Janjua’s brother along with a woman and a child all managed to escape from the property.
Mohsin Janjua, 28, (pictured) did not realise his brother had already escaped through the back window when he dashed back into the blazing terraced house in Bradford
Emergency services at the scene of the home in Bradford where an e-bike battery fire broke out at 5am on Saturday
They were taken to hospital for treatment where their injuries were not life-threatening.
The property in Finch Street, Little Horton was cordoned off for a painstaking forensic investigation – which ruled out arson.
West Yorkshire Fire Service said: ‘The room of origin of the fire was the living room. The cause of the fire was a Lithium-Ion battery from an E-bike, which had been charging in the living room.’
‘We were called at 05.17 on 02/12/23 to reports of a fire on Finch Street, Bradford. We sent two crews from Bradford, one from Odsal, Fairweather Green and Shipley.
‘Crews used 6 breathing apparatus and 3 hose reels to extinguish the fire. One man was taken from the property by firefighters but sadly passed away.
‘The cause of the fire, which started in the living room is believed to be a Lithium-Ion battery from an E-bike, which had been charging.’
Janjua was trapped in the flames for nearly 20 minutes before being overcome by fire and smoke.
His brother wanted to rush back into home to help but had injured his leg while jumping out the window.
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