Four people have died and at least three others are in critical condition after a fire tore through a lower Manhattan electric bike store on Tuesday, authorities said.
Two women and two men died in the fire which broke out around 12:15 this morning at the bottom of a six-story building at 80 Madison Street.
One of the victims has been identified as a 71-year-old man, officials said.
At least two women were in critical condition and a third was also hospitalized. All victims were transported to nearby hospitals.
Thick smoke billowed from the store as firefighters pulled residents out of the block and piled dozens of burnt-out e-bikes outside the HQ e-bike repair shop.
New York Fire Department firefighters attend the HQ e-bike repair shop at 80 Madison St in the early hours of Tuesday morning
A fire rips through the shutters of the HQ E-Bike Repair at 80 Madison Street around 12.15am this morning
At least two women were in critical condition and a third was also hospitalized as smoke billowed from the store
A total of nine people were initially listed as injured in the inferno, the New York Fire Department said. This included a firefighter and a medical responder who were both reportedly slightly injured.
All of the victims were taken to local hospitals, including New York Presbyterian Hospital Cornell’s burn unit, Bellevue Hospital and Weill Cornell Medical Center, the FDNY said.
“We arrived in about four minutes. We found heavy fire in an e-bike shop, located on the first floor,’ Assistant Deputy Chief John Sarrocco said. ABC 7.
“Unfortunately we had heavy smoke throughout the building,” he added.
One of the witnesses is the owner of a nearby delicatessen. He told CBS New York: “I go out, I look, it’s a huge flame coming out of the door.” I call the fire department, they are coming in 10 minutes.
“Once they got here the flames started to get bigger and stronger… It was a real mess.”
Another witness, Belal Alayah, told ABC 7: “A friend of mine came in and shouted ‘there’s a fire next door.’
“I go out, I see the flames so hot that they go through the metal door. I knew it was the bike shop so I called the fire department but the fire kept getting bigger and it took them a while to put out the fire.
At least four people have died in Chinatown in a fire that started at an e-bike shop. The New York Fire Department responded to the scene
Fire could be seen melting store shutters as hell ripped through e-bike store
A total of nine people were initially listed as injured in the inferno, the New York Fire Department said.
HQ E-Bike Repair is located at 80 Madison Street in New York’s Chinatown and offers the sale and maintenance of electric bicycles and scooters.
As firefighters continued their work in the smoky structure, dozens of e-bikes and e-scooters were piled up in front of the store.
Some 33 units responded to the blaze, including 138 firefighters and EMS responders.
The hell was brought under control around 2:30 a.m. The fire department said the cause of the accident is still under investigation.
THE National Fire Protection Association notes that despite the popularity of e-bikes and e-scooters, they are highly flammable due to their lithium-ion battery.
“Unknown to many users, the batteries that power e-bikes and e-scooters have also been known to catch fire and cause explosions,” the association notes.
Some 33 units responded to the blaze, including 138 firefighters and EMS responders
At least two women were in critical condition and a third was also hospitalized. All victims were rushed to nearby hospitals
The association also adds: “While there are no national or international statistics on how often e-bikes or e-scooters catch fire, it does happen with some regularity – and the numbers are growing.”
“The New York City Fire Department (FDNY) has reported more than 130 such fires so far in 2022. These fires have killed five people and injured dozens. In 2019, the first year FDNY began tracking e-bike fires, only 13 were reported.