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Manhattan Fire Caused By E-Scooter Injures 43

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As cars get ever more expensive, more and more people are trying out micromobility solutions for their daily commute. E-bikes, e-scooters, even electric skateboards have skyrocketed in popularity. But an influx of discount electronics, mixed with the massive batteries needed to haul humans around, has begun to show a fatal side effect: fires.

This past Saturday, according to the FDNY, an electric scooter sparked a fire in a Manhattan apartment that injured 43 people. It also forced firefighters to rescue one resident in midair — from her window on the building’s 20th floor. Despite smoke pouring from her window, she was safely evacuated from the building.

New York Fire Fighters rescue woman from a burning apartment

This is far from the first micromobility fire in a New York apartment building, and likely won’t be the last. The FDNY claimed on Instagram that this was the 200th such fire in 2022 alone, and that “at least five bikes” were recovered from the apartment. Despite the specificity of the word “bike,” the attached Instagram photo distinctly shows an e-scooter — its small wheels and lack of any seat or seat-supporting subframe clearly give it away.

Fires like this one led the New York City Housing Authority to consider banning e-bikes from its properties earlier this year. The policy was never enacted, but even its consideration shows just how much property owners fear damage from these mobility aids.

The world of micromobility is a nascent one, and a plethora of brands are emerging to try and scrape together any kind of market share. Many of these, unfortunately, use cut-rate parts and lack safety features around battery charging and discharging. While a name brand never guarantees quality, micromobility purchases are always worth researching — and rarely worth the discount from simply buying the cheapest option.

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