Firefighters Respond to Two Fires at Same Home: Preliminary Cause Cited as Lithium-ion Batteries

Snoqualmie Fire Dept. firefighters responded to two separate fires in the same Snoqualmie home on Wednesday morning, March 8, 2023, and again on the early morning of Friday, March 10, 2023. The preliminary cause of each fire was cited as lithium-ion batteries stored in the home’s garage. 

Firefighters were called to the first fire at 7 am March 8. The small fire was contained to the garage and was quickly extinguished, causing approximately $6,000 in damage. 

A King County Fire Investigator cited larger-sized lithium-ion batteries stored on a shelf in the garage as the preliminary cause. The batteries were used to power a snow blower and were in charging bases that were not plugged into an electrical outlet. 

Following the March 8 fire and subsequent investigation, power to the home’s garage was left off, and the extinguished scene was left cold and intact for the homeowner’s insurance adjuster. 

Firefighters were called back to the home shortly after midnight on March 10 after smoke detectors woke the occupants. While the second fire was larger, it was also contained in the home’s garage. Damage was estimated at approximately $20,000.  

A fire investigator cited the preliminary cause once again as lithium-ion batteries stored in the garage.  It is believed one of the batteries damaged in the first fire (not the batteries that caused the first fire) caused the second fire. 

Lithium-ion batteries are very common, supplying power to many devices, including smartphones, laptops, e-scooters and e-bikes, yard maintenance equipment, and even cars. They can catch fire or explode if damaged or used incorrectly.

Here are some important lithium-ion battery safety tips:

  • Purchase and use devices that are listed by a qualified testing laboratory.
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Only use the battery that is designed for the device.
  • Put batteries in the device the right way.
  • Only use the charging cord that came with the device.
  • Do not charge a device under your pillow, on your bed, or on a couch.
  • Do not keep charging the device or device battery after it is fully charged.
  • Keep batteries at room temperature when possible. 
  • Do not charge batteries at temperatures below 32°F (0°C) or above 105°F (40°C).
  • Store batteries away from anything that can catch fire.

[Information provided by the City of Snoqualmie]

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