December 5th, 2022
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
A three-alarm fire at a warehouse housing a pedicab business in the East Village section of San Diego caused $1.55 million in damage. Around one hundred firefighters responded to the November 9th blaze on Market Street near 14th Street. Explosions of lithium-ion batteries stoked the blaze.
Firefighters found fire burning on the second story of the building and heard lithium-ion batteries inside the warehouse exploding. The fire quickly engulfed the entire building.
Dozens of firefighters reported to the adjacent Senior Citizen Housing Facility, temporarily evacuating 50 residents as a precaution as smoke drifted into the five-story building. A third-floor balcony on the building also caught on fire.
A county hazardous-materials team took readings because of fumes from the batteries and pedicabs that burned in the fire while San Diego police issued a “wireless emergency alert” to residents in the area, instructing them to shelter in place.
The exploding batteries prevented firefighters from entering the building. As the fire was extinguished, from the outside, a drone was deployed to make sure no one was trapped inside. Several fire apparatuses remained at the site for hours to ensure the smoldering warehouse did not reignite. There were also potential dangers of the building collapsing or more lithium-ion batteries exploding.
The cause of the fire is undetermined.
About 40 pedicab drivers are now out of work, their bikes are heavily damaged or destroyed and the site may not be cleared for entry for some time.
Additional information is available in a Risk Logic article regarding rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. Risk Logic can recommend and help develop preventive maintenance and property loss control programs at your warehouse facility. Please contact us to schedule a property survey at your facility by one of our engineering specialists.
Mikolajczak, C., Kahn, M., White, K., & Long, R. T., Jr. (2011, July). Lithium-ion batteries hazard and use assessment, phase I. Fire Protection Research Foundation.
Long, R. T., Jr, Sutula, J. A., & Kahn, M. J. (2013, April). Lithium-ion batteries hazard and use assessment phase IIB flammability characterization of li-ion batteries for storage protection, phase II. Fire Protection Research Foundation.
Long, R. T., Jr, & Blum, A. (2016, November). Lithium ion batteries hazard and use assessment, phase III. Fire Protection Research Foundation.