Watch CBS News

50 lithium-ion battery fires identified in last six months in Massachusetts

Massachusetts now tracking lithium-ion battery fires
Massachusetts now tracking lithium-ion battery fires 02:04

BROCKTON - The state Fire Marshal's office flagged 50 lithium-ion fires in Massachusetts in the last six months. A new tracking system is helping them identify dangerous patterns. 

"We realized we were having a more of a problem than we thought," Brockton Deputy Fire Chief Jeffrey Marchetti told WBZ-TV. "They're in our everyday life: cellphones, laptops, every tool we use now, vehicles. Everything we do." 

Lithium-ion battery fires burn up to 2,000 degrees

These small batteries pack a big punch, so when they do explode, it requires more manpower to contain. 

"A normal fire is 500-800 degrees. These fires will burn up to 2,000 degrees which makes things much more difficult," Marchetti said.
Water, he added, simply won't cut it. 

"It looks like Dippin' Dots, but you don't eat it," he explained. 

Firefighters use foam beads

Brockton firefighters had to use foam beads, or "cell blocks" to absorb a battery's energy at a Brockton home last year that was engulfed by fire and reignited. 

"We had hundreds of batteries in there," Marchetti said. "Turned out to be a lithium-ion, a bike repair shop." 

Brockton lithium ion fire
Hundreds of lithium-ion batteries caught fire in a Brockton home CBS Boston

A fire on Rockland Street six years ago destroyed a kitchen - all caused by the lithium-ion battery inside a small e-cigarette.

The awareness and data show just how important this new checklist is. 

"You wouldn't even know to buy this," Marchetti said of the new equipment and tools. 

Now, fire departments across the state are trying to educate people how to spot the signs of a combustible battery. 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.