SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A fire has displaced dozens of residents at an apartment complex in Schenectady. An electric scooter containing a lithium ion battery was found inside the apartment where the fire started.
The heat from flames sent residents of 736 Albany Street into the chill of the Schenectady streets Monday morning. Lori T. described the initial moments after the ignition.
“You instantly hear the alarms go off in the building, and it’s not an alarm that you can sleep through. About 8 o’clock this morning. I’m on the Albany Street side of the building, and I don’t see any fire trucks out there. Then the fire trucks came, and they had crowbars in their hands, so this gotta be serious. Somethings going on” the tenant said.
The Hillside Crossings Apartment resident says she even saw someone taking drastic measures to escape the fire.
“There was a guy over top of me, that had an electrical scooter” said Lori. “And he was about to jump out of the window” he added.
Lori says that man was taken away in an ambulance. Fire Chief Don Mareno confirmed that a scooter containing a lithium ion battery was found inside of the apartment, and that one person was treated at the scene in an ambulance then taken to the hospital. Mareno has not said whether the scooter’s battery officially caused the fire, but he acknowledges they can be dangerous.
“You’ve got to be very cautious with them. Don’t charge them with an electrical cord. If they’re damaged, you need to dispose of them properly. When you replace the lithium ion battery with your Weed Whacker or whatever…aftermarket lithium ion batteries could become an issue. So follow your manufacturer’s suggestions on how to handle those things” the chief said.
Mareno added that the city is still working with the codes department to develop legislation for proper lithium battery storage.
Back at the Hillside Apartments, pets and people alike were displaced. A cold blooded Bearded Dragon will have to settle for the warmth of its container for now. As for the humans, they were only allowed back inside to collect essential belongings.
Two CDTA busses were provided to help keep residents warm for the time being but questions about their accommodations for Monday night remain up in the air. The Red Cross was on scene helping residents with housing. They opened a shelter at 970 State Street. Building codes and inspections still has to determine which apartments are suitable for re-entry.