Fire marshals determine lithium-ion batteries sparked 2-alarm blaze at Ozone Park deli: FDNY

lithium-ion batteries
Fire marshals determined that lithium-ion batteries caused a two-alarm fire at an Ozone Park deli over the weekend.
File photo by Lloyd Mitchell

The FDNY announced Monday that a 2-alarm fire that tore through an Ozone Park deli on Sunday morning was caused by exploding uncertified lithium-ion batteries.

Firefighters responded to a call at around 6:22 a.m. of a fire in a commercial building at 94-24 Rockaway Blvd. and found heavy fire conditions inside a ground-floor deli.

The FDNY transmitted a second alarm soon afterward, bringing a total of 25 units and 106 firefighters and EMS personnel to the scene, blocking traffic between 94th Street and Liberty Avenue. The fire was brought under control at 8 a.m. and there were no injuries reported.

FDNY fire marshals determined that lithium-ion batteries caused the blaze that gutted the Ozone Park deli and multiple fires across the five boroughs on Saturday and Sunday. According to the FDNY, uncertified lithium-ion batteries have the potential to randomly explode, causing massive fireballs.

“This weekend is an example,” FDNY Commissioner Laura Kavanagh said. “There were five fires involving lithium-ion batteries. There were ten in the last week. The problem is not going away.”

FDNY Commissioner Laura Kavanagh noted that the two-alarm fire at an Ozone Park deli was one of five infernos caused by exploding lithium-ion batteries across the city over the weekend. Photo by Dean Moses

Kavanagh briefed reporters on Monday after fire marshals arrested the owner of a bike shop in Brooklyn last Friday for improper storage of highly flammable lithium-ion batteries inside his Electric Bike Shop at 1239 Flatbush Ave. Tian Liang Liu was taken into custody and turned over at the 70th Precinct, where he was charged with reckless endangerment. It was the first arrest of its kind ever reported in New York City and it likely will not be the last.

Brooklyn bike shop owner Tian Liang Liu was cuffed last week in the first-ever lithium-ion battery violation arrest in New York City. Photo by Dean Moses

“This was the fourth time we were there, and they’ve made no changes whatsoever to make their behavior better,” Chief Fire Marshal Dan Flynn said. “So that’s the reason why this rose to that level where it required an arrest.”