E-bike exploded on high street 'producing jets of flame hot enough to melt through metal'

A converted e-bike that burst into flames in the middle of a busy west London high street was “producing jets of flame that are hot enough to melt through metal”.

Firefighters were called at 6.18pm on Wednesday to reports of an e-bike fire on Uxbridge Road in Shepherd’s Bush.

Footage on social media shows the bike exploding with sparks flying high into the air as the bike lay on fire in a cycle lane.

A London Fire Brigade (LFB) spokesperson said: “Videos of this incident show explosions coming from the bike, producing jets of flame that are hot enough to melt through metal.

“You can also see what looks like white smoke but is actually an extremely toxic vapour cloud that should never be inhaled.

“Lithium battery fires are ferocious and people should stay well away from them for their own safety.”

Charlie Tierney, who filmed the incident, told the Standard: “Everybody assumed it was fireworks going off. It was sparking all over the place.

“There was a lot of screaming as everyone realised it was on fire. The fire brigade came in about five minutes.”

The LFB said the bike involved had been converted into an e-bike from a normal bike and the cause of the fire remains under investigation.

No injuries were reported.

E-bikes and e-scooters have become London’s fastest growing fire risk and there was a fire, on average, once every two days in 2023.

Three people have died in these fires and around 60 people have been hurt in fires involving e-bikes and e-scooters, the LFB said.

The LFB have warned that some e-bikes and e-scooters are proving to be “incredibly dangerous” if they are not used safely.

Earlier this month a man was left hanging from a window ledge in Whitechapel after an e-bike fire.

The Brigade added: “From previous investigations, we know many of the fires we’ve attended have involved second-hand vehicles or the bike has been modified using parts bought online.

“It’s important to get this conversion carried out by a professional or a competent person.

“It’s also important to make sure the conversion kits, batteries and chargers you’re purchasing for the bike are from a reputable seller.

“At this time, there is not the same level of regulation of products for e-bikes and e-scooters sold via online marketplaces or auction sites when compared to high street shops, so we cannot be confident that products meet the correct safety standard.”