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Fire blamed on electric scooter battery kills 8-year-old girl in New York City

8-year-old girl killed in Queens house fire, 2 men injured
8-year-old girl killed in Queens house fire, 2 men injured 02:10

An electric scooter battery sparked a fire that killed an 8-year-old girl in New York City, authorities said. The death of Stephanie Villa Torres on Saturday was at least the third time in a little over a year that a fatal fire in the city has been linked to a scooter battery.

Saturday's fire was reported around 7:30 a.m. at a home in Queens, a police spokesperson said. Stephanie was found unresponsive and was pronounced dead at a hospital. The girl's father and 18-year-old brother were treated for burns and smoke inhalation, officials said.

"It's very sad to hear about. I heard that the father couldn't get to her in time, which is really heartbreaking when you think about it," College Point resident Sam Chen told CBS New York.

One neighbor got the chilling call for his sister and says the fire erupted from the unit, the station reported.

"She saw just a huge fire and everything happening, but she never really seen anything like this, especially around our area, where there's, like, really never anything. It's just a calm neighborhood," Alejandro Mendreno said.

The fire department said the blaze was caused by a lithium battery from an electric scooter — one of scores of fires blamed on electric scooter and bike batteries in New York City over the past two years.

A woman and a 5-year-old girl were killed Aug. 3 in Harlem by a fire that was blamed on a scooter battery, and a fire linked to an e-scooter killed a 9-year-old boy in Queens in September 2021.

E-bikes are being blamed for more than 60 injuries in the city this year, CBS New York reported. The New York City Housing Authority is pushing to have e-bikes banned from their buildings.

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