Charging e-bike may have caused fire at Lacey home

LACEY, Wash. — Firefighters in Thurston County saved a home early Thursday morning after a fire caused by lithium-ion batteries.

Lawrence Witkowski says he and his wife were sound asleep when smoke detectors went off at their home in Lacey.

“My wife went out to investigate and saw the smoke kind of swirling in the kitchen and it looked like it was coming from the garage, so she immediately told me we need to go out and call 911,” said Witkowski.

The couple and their two dogs safely escaped.

Fire crews arrived and had the fire out within minutes -- containing damage to the garage -- where the fire started from batteries charging for a lawnmower and e-bikes.

“I didn’t know that lithium batteries were so flammable,” said Witkowski.

According to Lacey Fire District 3 Battalion Chief Tim Hulse: “Those batteries can explode and burn at a very hot temperature.”

Hulse says that with lithium-ion batteries powering more popular products, consumers need to keep some tips in mind.

“From the vape pen to the skateboard to the laptop to now the lawnmowers and leaf blowers, they’re everywhere. We just need to make sure that we don’t use the batteries when they’re damaged, we don’t use the batteries when they’re discolored, we don’t leave them on the charger overnight and walk away,” said Hulse. “Definitely don’t charge or store those batteries near an exit point.”

Also, buy what’s recommended; do not buy aftermarket batteries.

Hulse said that storing the batteries in the garage likely saved the home from more damage.

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