HomeAsian Americans4 dead, 2 critically injured in fire at e-bike shop in Chinatown

4 dead, 2 critically injured in fire at e-bike shop in Chinatown


A large fire at an e-bike repair shop in New York City’s Chinatown killed four people and left two critically injured early Tuesday morning.

According to The New York Times, the three-alarm fire started around 12:15 a.m. at 80 Madison Street. It quickly spread through the store, which was located in a six-story building. The building was home to several residential apartments.

About 140 firefighters and emergency personnel came to Madison Street to help. Six adults were taken to nearby hospitals. Four of the adults, two men and two women, died at the hospital. The other two adults, both women, remain in critical condition.

The New York City Fire Department (FDNY) determined that the fire was sparked by a lithium ion battery, The New York Daily News reports. The Chinatown fire is the latest of several deadly incidents throughout the city involving lithium ion batteries.

“This exact scenario is incredibly deadly,” FDNY Commissioner Laura Kavanagh said at a news conference outside the shop, according to The New York Daily News. “The sheer volume of fire … can make it nearly impossible to get out on time.”

Chief Fire Marshal Dan Flynn confirmed to Gothamist that the owner of the shop was issued summonses and fined $1,600 last August after an inspection found he was charging too many batteries on the wall with improper electrical wiring.

“He used to have them all up on one wall. There used to be 50 or more, charging,” Joey Sperduto, a customer who visited the repair shop a few weeks ago, told Gothamist. “It was a matter of time, you know what I’m saying? He was just charging them all day long.”

Jacky Wong, the coordinator of Chinatown Community Land Trust, told The New York Times that fires in Chinatown are becoming more frequent because of e-bikes and buildings that are no longer up to code.

“Local housing advocates and policymakers have failed to address this issue for the past 40 years,” he said.

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