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Mayor Adams signs lithium-ion battery safety bills following latest deadly fire

Mayor Adams signs new laws regarding lithium-ion batteries
Mayor Adams signs new laws regarding lithium-ion batteries 02:02

NEW YORK -- New safety standards for lithium-ion batteries were signed into law Monday morning by Mayor Eric Adams.

Fires sparked by the batteries are on the rise. The new laws focus on a several areas.

It's a red-hot and deadly crisis and the city is fighting back.

The new laws are designed to stop fires from erupting from e-bikes and e-scooters powered by lithium-ion batteries.

"We are super charging safety for our e-bikes and e-scooters," Adams said.

The city's mission is to stamp out sales of bootleg batteries that can ignite when plugged in to charge. Recent fires have been blamed on batteries not properly stored, or in overloaded outlets, or charging too close to beds and furniture.

READ MOREFDNY: Lithium-ion battery sparked deadly fire at Bronx apartment complex

As seen Monday in the Allerton section of the Bronx, there are boarded-up top-floor apartment windows and an apartment door still charred around the edges. Fire investigators say inside was an e-bike believed to be the cause and a 64-year-old man who did not survive.

The new laws create new rules for purchasing e-bikes and e-scooters, adding to outdoor storage and charging facilities and education and outreach that the FDNY is already rolling out.

READ MORERep. Ritchie Torres introduces federal safety standards for lithium-ion batteries blamed for hundreds of fires

Last year, the FDNY investigated 220 fires caused by lithium-ion batteries, resulting in 147 injuries and six fatalities.

Fires caused by these batteries can be among the toughest to fight. They are fast spreading, hard to extinguish, and they producing toxic fumes.

"They are not just regular fires. They are basically explosions," Adams said.

READ MOREThe Point: Daniel Nigro on fire dangers of lithium-ion batteries and Mark Levine on NYC's housing shortage

Reconditioned or second-hand batteries are outlawed and the batteries must have a seal of approval from UL -- Underwriter Laboratories.

"It actually only costs about 10 cents per device to get something UL certified. So as we advocate for that certification, that's certainly not cost prohibitive," FDNY Commissioner Laura Kavanagh said.

As the education gets underway, e-bike and e-scooter manufacturers and sellers have 180 days to get on board and up to code.

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