Electric scooter showroom fire in India kills eight in deadliest incident of its kind

Policemen stand amidst damaged scooters after a fire broke out at an electric scooter showroom in the southern city of Secunderabad, India, September 13, 2022. REUTERS/Stringer

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MUMBAI, Sept 13 (Reuters) – A fire at an electric scooter showroom in India has killed at least eight people and injured 11, police said on Tuesday, in what is deadliest incident of its kind involving electric vehicles in the country.

A wave of electric scooter fires this year has alarmed the government, which is keen to promote the use of these two-wheelers in its fight against pollution. Early investigations identified faulty battery cells and battery modules among the primary causes. Read more

The latest fire broke out on Monday evening in a hotel basement housing the showroom with around 20 electric scooters in the southern city of Secunderabad, police said. He was brought under control and an investigation was opened, they said.

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Most of the dead were occupants of the hotel, which was engulfed in smoke.

“There were electric scooters parked where the fire started,” city police chief Chandana Deepti told Reuters.

“We don’t know if it started because of an overload and then spread or if it started somewhere else. It’s still being established.”

The identity of the dealer and the brand of the scooters sold were not immediately clear.

Police and firefighters used cranes and other equipment to pull stranded hotel guests from the upper floors of the four-story building as smoke billowed from its windows, media footage showed.

“Those staying on the first and second floors have been overwhelmed by smoke and the maximum casualties are from these floors,” CV Anand, the police chief of neighboring Hyderabad, told Reuters partner ANI. .

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was saddened by the deaths and promised compensation for the victims of the fire.

In March, India launched an investigation into safety concerns after a series of e-scooter fires, including one in which a man and his daughter died when their e-bike “caught on fire”. Read more

India wants e-scooters and e-bikes to account for 80% of total two-wheeler sales by 2030, up from around 2% currently.

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Reporting by Shilpa Jamkhandikar, Jatindra Dash and Krishna N. Das; Editing by Bradley Perrett and Clarence Fernandez

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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