A Stafford man has said he has “lost everything” after an electrical fire that started because his electric bike exploded.
Dave Bird, from Stafford, was on holiday with his children in Wales last month when he was told about the fire by his friend who was house-sitting and looking after his pets.
“Everything is just gone, the kitchen is obliterated, all my furniture, my cooker, totally devastated,” said Mr Bird.
“There are things I can’t get back, pictures of my mum and my dad who’ve both passed, items of jewellery from my dad, his fob watch and things like that. Things that the kids have made me.”
He continued: “The thing that really upset me was pictures of my daughter on the wall who I lost in 2010. They were totally… That really upset me.”
Mr Bird’s friend, Dan, had bought the E-bike as a gift for him to help with his mobility issues and he planned to surprise him with it when he returned home from holiday.
Shortly after putting the bike on charge, Dan heard a bang from the kitchen and the fire erupted.
Mr Bird returned from holiday to a burnt-out shell of a house after the fire had ripped through his home and destroyed all of his belongings.
‘You buy something you expect it to work’
“He plugged it in at night for a few hours to make sure it was ready for the morning when I got back and it blew up,” said Mr Bird, “he heard a fizz and a pop and then the fire just spread and everything gone, that’s it.”
“He had to go the hospital for oxygen, the kittens had to go for oxygen, I’m just thankful he got out safe,” he said.
“There’s nothing you can do, he felt like it was his fault. I said ‘You wouldn’t expect that’, you buy something you expect it to work don’t you.”
An investigation by Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service found the main source of the fire was the battery charger – and they are now issuing warnings to anyone who is considering purchasing an E-bike.
To charge the bikes safely the fire service is urging people to always use the correct charger and not to charge them overnight due to the risk of bikes overheating.
“We’re seeing a rise in the number of issues we’ve got with the safety of those, particularly around the chargers,” said Tony Shore, Staffordshire Trading Standards Operations Manager.
“A lot of fires that are caused are as a result of faulty electrical goods and it’s important that you do your research before you buy them.
“Make sure that they comply with the appropriate British standards and make sure, more importantly, that they’re genuine products and they’re not counterfeit.”
The charger was bought from Amazon and Dave now wants the retailer to take it off sale.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Amazon said: “We’ve reached out to the customer directly and a full investigation’s underway. Safety is important to Amazon and we want customers to shop with confidence on our stores.
“We monitor the products sold for product safety concerns and require all products on Amazon to comply with applicable laws and regulations.
“If customers have concerns about an item they’ve purchased, we encourage them to contact our Customer Service directly so we can investigate and take appropriate action.”
Mr Bird rents his house from the council and they have told him it’ll take at least six months to rebuild it.
Lithium-ion batteries and E-bike fires specifically are a growing problem. More and more cases like this one seem to be occurring every week. These are serious matters and luckily, in this case, no one was hurt. This Stafford electrical fire incident is an eye-opener for many and should act in spreading awareness of incidents like this one.