Today, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand issued the following statement on this past weekend’s lithium-ion battery-related fire in Brooklyn:
“Today, Brooklyn is mourning the loss of Albertha West, Michael West, and Jamiyl West – 3 generations of family members living in Crown Heights who lost their lives to a powerful and preventable fire caused by lithium-ion batteries used in two electric scooters. I am devastated to learn that more innocent lives have been taken at the hands of these faulty batteries. Cheaply made batteries, commonly found in e-bikes and electric scooters, cause dangerous and unstable fires that put both New Yorkers and our first responders in harm’s way. Thank you to the brave members of the FDNY and other first responders who put their lives at risk to contain the three-alarm fire.
In New York City alone, the FDNY reports that lithium-ion batteries have caused more than 400 fires over the last four years – with the tragedy of the West family, that number is only growing. Federal action is needed to set safety standards and address improperly manufactured lithium-ion batteries that cause these fires. Earlier this year, I introduced the Setting Consumer Standards for Lithium-Ion Batteries Act to require the creation of the first-ever mandatory consumer product safety standard for rechargeable lithium-ion batteries used in micromobility devices. This bill would improve the safety of e-bikes, e-scooters, and other micromobility devices to help prevent future tragedies. I will never stop fighting to pass this bill and protect the lives of New Yorkers.”