Incident Type: 
Tuesday, January 24, 2023 - 7:34pm
Tuesday, January 24, 2023 - 7:39pm
600 block Elm Drive
Madison, WI

A lithium ion e-bicycle battery fire prompted a brief evacuation of Cole Hall on the UW-Madison campus. The fire was extinguished quickly, and nobody was hurt.

The Madison Fire Department was dispatched to 625 Elm Drive at 7:34 p.m. Tuesday for reports of a battery fire in a dorm room. An occupant quickly retrieved a fire extinguisher from the common hallway and used it to put out the fire just prior to Engine Co. 4’s arrival.

The occupant explained he was studying in the dorm room when he noticed the small fire erupt. The e-bicycle batter was stored in a box at the time. It was not plugged into a bicycle, nor was it being charged when the fire started.  

Firefighters were unable to trace the model number to gather more information about the product due to damage from the fire. It is unknown what exactly caused the fire to occur.

Safety Tip for Consumers:
Fires related to lithium ion batteries and micro-mobility devices such as e-bicycles are on the rise nationally as their popularity continues to grow. The Madison Fire Department reminds consumers to take the following precautions when storing, charging, or using these batteries:

  • Only purchase and use devices, batteries, and charging equipment that are listed by a nationally recognized testing lab and are labeled accordingly.
  • Only use the battery and the charger that were designed for, and came with, the device.
  • Do not keep charging the device or device battery after it is fully charged.
  • Store e-bikes, e-scooters, and batteries away from exit doors and anything that can get hot or catch fire.
  • Stop using the e-bike or e-scooter if the battery emits an unusual odor, changes in color, gives off too much heat, changes in shape, leaks, smokes, or fails to keep a charge.
  • Do not put lithium-ion batteries in the trash. Recycling is always the best option. Find a vendor near you .
  • Only have repairs performed by a qualified professional.

Additional information and safety tips are available courtesy of the National Fire Protection Association.

Posted 01/25/2023 - 9:59am

Cynthia Schuster (Public Information Officer)