A non-profit is raising funds to assist the victims of a deadly fire in New York Chinatown blamed on e-bike batteries, reports the Bayard Bugle.
Four senior citizens died in the fire on June 20 and at least six were taken to the hospital.
Among the dead were two men, 71 and 80, and two women, 62 and 85, according to Asian Americans for Equality which is raising funds for the victims along with the Renaissance Economic Development Corporation.
“No one can make the pain and anguish go away, but joining together, we can make this ordeal a little bit more manageable for the families by covering the funeral costs,” the groups wrote on their fundraising page. “The expenses – including funeral home rentals, transportation and flowers – are substantial.”
100 percent of the money donated will go to pay for funeral expenses.
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.”
The fire happened on a Tuesday and by Friday of the same week, a second fire broke out at the same facility.
Once again lithium batteries are being blamed.
Investigators suspect the fire ignited from batteries left in the debris.
“The batteries were kind of scattered throughout debris, so we took out as much as we could, and the city’s working with a contractor to remove the remainder of the batteries,” FDNY Deputy Chief Michael Barbels said, according to CBS News.
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