A charging e-bike battery that overheated was the cause of a house fire in Peterborough, an investigation has found.  

The findings have led to Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service releasing a picture of the charred remains of the bike and issuing a warning about charging the batteries safely.  

A fire service spokesman said: “The fire was caused by a battery in an e-bike overheating, due to an incorrect charger being used to recharge it.  

“The occupant of the property had purchased what they thought was a suitable charger to use for the e-bike, however the voltage was too high, so was supplying more power to the battery than it needed. 

“This resulted in the battery overcharging, creating excess heat, leading to thermal runaway causing the fire to start.  

“The bike itself did have overcharge protection, like most devices of this type. However this will only work with the correct charger, which is why it failed in this instance.” 

Peterborough Matters: The charred remains of an e-bike following the house fire in Peterborough.The charred remains of an e-bike following the house fire in Peterborough. (Image: Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service)

Flames were spreading to the roof of the two-storey property Collingham, in Orton Goldhay, when firefighters arrived at around 4.45pm on Sunday (September 3).  

Crews from across Peterborough attended, including Stanground, Dogsthorpe, Peterborough Volunteer Fire Brigade and Sawtry.  

Backup specialist equipment was also needed and it took around three hours to put out the fire. 

The occupants had managed to escape – but the fire caused significant damage.  

The spokesperson added: “This is obviously a terrible situation for the victims of this fire, as the damage to the home is significant.  

“They have however had a fortunate escape.  

“Fires involving batteries like this spread through a property very quickly, causing tragic consequences. 

“Even having smoke alarms to alert residents to a fire are not always life-saving, as overheated batteries can explode releasing harmful vapours and allowing fire spread too quickly.” 

The investigation’s overall conclusion was given as “accidental” and the spokesperson also shared important, and helpful, safety information.  

He said: “There are things residents can do to avoid having a fire like this.  

“The most important thing is to make sure you use the correct charger for a device.  

“It can be very confusing to find the right input and voltage, and the product descriptions don’t always help.  

“However it is very important to check the voltage a device can take, as well as making sure the charger is fully compliant with UK specifications.

“More information about this can be found in the Take Charge and Be Safe section of our website.” 

Peterborough Matters: The Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service have released photographs of burnt-out e-scooters to raise awareness of their dangers.The Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service have released photographs of burnt-out e-scooters to raise awareness of their dangers. (Image: Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service)

In June, an e-bike on charge is understood to have caused a fire which killed a mother and her two children in Cambridge.  

Gemma Germany, 31, died of the scene of the blaze in Sackville Close, King’s Hedges.  

Her two children - eight-year-old Lilly Peden and four-year-old Oliver Peden - were rescued but were later died at Addenbrooke’s Hospital.     

David Heming, a senior coroner for Cambridgeshire, flagged “a potential link to an e-scooter" when he opened their inquests.  

He said: “Whilst ... detailed [fire] investigations are ongoing, and the final cause of the house fire at this stage remains under consideration, it has been flagged there is a potential link to an e-scooter.    

“I draw attention to Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service’s website which contains some very helpful information on charging and storage of e-scooters and e-bikes...   

“... It’s clear that there have certainly been some incidents that are fire-related concerning some these products.    

“But that will obviously be a matter for consideration as part of our investigation likewise that of the fire service.”   

He added: “Clearly this is a catastrophic event for this family and my sincerest condolences and sympathy go out to all wider family members.”