Bike shop in Astoria, Queens badly damaged after electric bike explosion

ASTORIA, Queens (WABC) — An electric bicycle was the cause of a fire that engulfed a bicycle shop in Queens, forcing residents out of their homes mid-afternoon Monday.

FDNY officials said the fire started inside the building at 30-o5 41st Street just before 2 p.m.

Hours after the blaze, firefighters were still working at the scene of a burnt-out Astoria bike shop.

The flames may have been extinguished, but what caught fire was still extremely dangerous.

“Once they’re compromised, they’re very volatile, flammable explosives, and they could reignite like that,” FDNY Battalion Chief Brian Deery said.

Firefighters said at least one lithium battery inside an e-bike spontaneously ignited, causing a hellish chain reaction that sent smoke into a corner.

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Firefighters crawled all over the building to alert people like Julie, who in her closed bedroom didn’t notice the cloud of smoke spreading through her apartment.

“And then the firefighter came into my room and he said, ‘Stay in the room, you’re safe now, open the windows and breathe,'” resident Julie said. “So I didn’t even have time to be scared.”

Citywide, this is the sixth fire blamed on e-bikes in the past two months alone.

Just last week, families had to flee their building in Sunset Park after a three-alarm fire.

With the use of e-bikes and scooters skyrocketing, firefighters say it’s never been more serious to follow instructions when it comes to charging them.

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They warn never to charge them overnight or when no one is home.

There were a lot of e-bikes in the store and on Monday evening a private company had to come and remove all the batteries one by one, before firefighters deemed the place safe.

Luckily no one was hurt, but the next call is just an overheating battery.

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