MUMBAI — A fire that broke out at an electric scooter showroom in India killed at least eight people and injured 11, police said Tuesday, in the deadliest electric vehicle incident of its kind in the country.
A spate of electric scooter fires this year has alarmed the government, which wants to encourage the use of such two-wheelers in the fight against pollution. Early investigations have identified faulty battery cells and battery modules as the main cause.
The latest fire broke out late Monday in a hotel basement that housed the showroom of around two dozen electric scooters in the southern city of Secunderabad, police said. It was brought under control and an investigation was launched, it said.
Most of the dead were occupants of the hotel, which was engulfed in smoke.
“Electric scooters were parked where the fire broke out,” Chandana Deepti, a city police officer, told Reuters.
“We don’t know if it started because of overload and then spread, or if it started somewhere else. This is still under construction.”
The identity of the retailer and the brand of scooters sold were not immediately clear.
Police and firefighters used cranes and other equipment to evacuate stranded hotel guests from the upper floors of the four-story building as smoke billowed from windows, media images showed.
“Those who were on the first and second floors were overwhelmed by smoke and most of the victims are from those floors,” CV Anand, the police chief for the neighboring city of Hyderabad, told Reuters partner ANI.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was saddened by the deaths and promised compensation for victims of the fire.
In March, India launched an investigation over safety concerns following a series of e-scooter fires, including one in which a man and his daughter died when their e-bike “burst into flames”.
India wants e-scooters and e-bikes to account for 80% of total two-wheeler sales by 2030, up from around 2% now.
https://nypost.com/2022/09/13/deadly-fire-at-e-scooter-showroom-in-india-kills-eight/ Eight people have died in a deadly fire at an e-scooter showroom in India