SFGate, San Francisco
May 9—Five people were injured early Tuesday morning when flames engulfed a portion of a high-rise in San Francisco’s Sunset District near Mount Sutro, the SF Fire Department said.
The blaze was caused by a lithium-ion battery for an electric bicycle that caught fire, fire department spokesperson Capt. Jonathan Baxter told SFGATE.
The fire department said it was dispatched to Avalon Sunset Towers just after 1 a.m. for a report of a fire. Multiple people were rescued; firefighters reached one man standing on a balcony with a ladder, Baxter said.
Baxter said that two people jumped out of windows on the second floor to escape flames. Three of the five injured people were taken to a local hospital and are expected to survive, SFFD said.
“Unfortunately, there was one deceased dog,” Baxter said.
Seven people were displaced by the blaze and are receiving assistance for the American Red Cross.
Two floors of the 11-story building were impacted by the fire; two and a half units were severely damaged, and 11 units were infused with smoke, Baxter said.
Lithium-ion batteries contain highly flammable materials and are found in consumer tech products such as smartphones, laptops and electric bikes, scooters and cars. Baxter said the batteries can catch fire when they are overcharged, used after being damaged or used after being exposed to extreme heat or extreme cold.
“What we’re seeing is the need to follow the manufacturer’s recommendation on storing them, using them and charging them,” he said.
This breaking news story has been updated.
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