New York City

Photo essay: E-bike fires leave scars on buildings across New York City

There has been mixed progress at sites of prominent fires, even months or a year later.

14 Goodwin Place in Brooklyn has been left with its vinyl siding melting off the brick since a fire ripped through the building.

14 Goodwin Place in Brooklyn has been left with its vinyl siding melting off the brick since a fire ripped through the building. Ashley Borja

Lithium-ion batteries have become a serious fire hazard in New York City. Hundreds of fires in recent years have resulted in at least 29 deaths. City & State recently visited several sites of e-bike fires to see what the buildings look like today. At many of the buildings, it didn’t look like much had been done to repair or rebuild in the months or even a year since these e-bike blazes occurred.

Photos by Ashley Borja

242 Albany Ave., Crown Heights, Brooklyn

This row house tells a common story of lithium-ion battery fires: It spread quickly across several floors and over to neighboring buildings. The devastating fire killed three family members and injured 14 people. Months after the November blaze, the buildings remain uninhabitable. On the steps of the house, there are flowers in a plastic basket to honor those who died.

242 Albany Ave.
The ground floor at 242 Albany Ave.
Flowers left at the site to honor those who died in the fire.

14 and 16 Goodwin Place, Bushwick, Brooklyn

The fire, which burned two buildings, contained several lithium-ion batteries that had been left unattended and charged overnight. The vinyl siding at 14 Goodwin Place completely melted during the extremely hot fire, exposing the brick behind it. Next door, 16 Goodwin Place remains boarded up and untouched. The scorched structures look out of place on the quiet street. Only a couple people were injured in the fire.

16 Goodwin Place, left, and 14 Goodwin Place, right, after an e-bike fire burned both buildings.
Vinyl siding is melting off 14 Goodwin Place.
The charred basement door at 14 Goodwin Place.

80 Madison St., Two Bridges, Manhattan

The former e-bike shop is completely unrecognizable from almost a year ago. Construction is underway inside after the whole structure was completely charred after a June fire in which four people died. The only remnants of the fire today are the darkened bricks above the new rolling door at the store. Across the street, there are e-bikes parked on the street near another e-scooter business.

After a devastating fire that killed four people, 80 Madison St. is largely cleaned up, except for the scorched bricks above the former e-bike repair shop.
A e-bike is parked across the street from 80 Madison St.
An e-scooter shop is still open right across the street where when a deadly e-bike broke out last year.

6308 11th Avenue, Borough Park, Brooklyn

Like 80 Madison St., it would be hard to tell at first glance that the location was the site of a deadly fire. The former e-bike shop is now for rent, with a large sign on the building's fire escape. However, the apartment attached to the building is uninhabitable, with signs from the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development stating that the location is a health and safety hazard and unfit for “human habitation.”

The building has largely been repaired at 6308 11th Avenue in Brooklyn, except for a few blackened bricks above the former e-bike shop.
A group of bikes and mopeds parked near the entrance to the former e-bike shop.
City paperwork is plastered over the front of 6308 11th Avenue.