Wednesday, April 17, 2024
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Four dead after fire in e-bike shop spreads to apartments in New York City

NEW YORK (AP) – A fire that started in a New York City e-bike shop early yesterday spread to upper-floor apartments, killing four people and injuring several others, authorities said.

City fire officials said the blaze was reported shortly after midnight on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in a six-story building that houses HQ E-Bike Repair. A pile of burned bikes, scooters and other debris was seen on the sidewalk outside the building.

Two men and two women died and two other women were hospitalised in critical condition, officials said. A firefighter suffered minor injuries, authorities said.

“We arrived in just about four minutes,” said deputy assistant fire chief John Sarrocco. “We found heavy fire in an e-bike store located on the first floor.”

The cause of the fire was under investigation. A man who said he was the owner of the bike shop told The Associated Press he made his usual checks of the store before he left on Monday night. He denied any e-bike batteries, which have been blamed for a series of fires across the city, were being charged.

“The shop has been there for six years, I check before I leave every night,” said the man, who spoke in Mandarin in a phone interview and only gave his last name, Liu. “I checked last night, turned off the power besides the ones for the monitor and automatic door.”

He added: “I got a call from a neighbour… and told me about the fire. I went to my shop but couldn’t get close when they were working on the fire, I saw a lot of smoke. My shop is gone, I’ve been working for nothing for years.”