Backpackers were forced to jump out windows to save their lives after an e-bike‘s battery spontaneously erupted into flames while they were sleeping.
Four visitors from South America woke up to the blaze after one of them had left the lithium-ion battery charging overnight in their North Bondi unit on Curtis Street.
One person got up after hearing a number of small explosions coming from inside the unit only to find the fire already in full swing at 4am on Friday.
Two were able to escape through the front door while the others had to jump out of a window because the smoke was so thick that they had no other option.
By the time emergency services arrived all four had reunited on the street and firefighters extinguished the blaze before it could spread to neighbouring homes.
Four South American travellers had to flee from their North Bondi unit at 4am on Friday after an e-bike battery exploded after one of them left it overnight to charge
The unit and all of the visitors’ belongings including passports and phones were destroyed in the blaze but nobody was hurt
A faulty lithium-ion battery was quickly identified as the source of the fire and Fire and Rescue NSW spokesman Adam Dewberry begged others to avoid making the same mistake.
‘Don’t charge them when you’re asleep. You don’t smell smoke when you’re asleep, and we’ve had a couple of events now with lucky escapes and the battery has failed and caught fire while the residents were asleep,’ Mr Dewberry said.
‘Our advice is just don’t do it, and make sure you have working smoke alarms.’
Mr Dewberry said that the travellers had rented the e-bike to help them get around the city and simply left it charging while they were sleeping.
All four had their passports, banking information and phones destroyed in the fire, while 14 other tenants in the building were evacuated but nobody was hurt.
Two managed to escape via the front door while the others were forced to jump out the window because of the thickness of the smoke
This latest incident comes after a string of lithium-ion related fires across Sydney which firefighters claim is because of their unsafe design.
The low-quality batteries do not have safety features to stop them overcharging and can release toxic gas if they overheat which is hard to extinguish and can reignite.
In October a fire in the Mad Monkey hostel in Potts Point was similarly caused by an e-bike battery exploding.
CCTV caught the moment two men ran for their lives as flames lashed out of their room and into the hallway.
Another fire in December started when a different battery exploded at 3am in an Annandale apartment, significantly damaging the home and sending three food delivery riders to hospital.
Friday’s incident is the latest in a string of e-bike battery related fires. In October CCTV caught the moment two men sprinted out of a room as their battery exploded in the same way