Ericka Williams and Chanise Anderson: Girl, 5, her dad's GF and 3 dogs killed in fire as e-bike explodes
EAST HARLEM, NEW YORK CITY: A five-year-old girl, a 36-year-old woman and three dogs were tragically killed in an apartment fire in East Harlem. Authorities have said that the fire was caused after the battery of an electric bike exploded. Ericka Williams, 5, and Chanise Anderson, 36, were identified as the victims. The fire broke out on Wednesday, August 3, in a sixth-floor apartment in the Jackie Robinson Houses on East 129th Street.
Witnesses said that the young girl's father managed to flee the apartment but was unable to enter again to help the others as the door's locking system melted in the deadly blaze. The father, Eric Williams, 46, was hospitalized with severe burns.
The blaze in East Harlem was reported at around 2.35 am on Wednesday. The girl and her father were rushed to NYC Health & Hospitals/Harlem by emergency units, but Ericka could not be saved. The father remains in the hospital in critical condition, the Daily Mail reported. Anderson, who was the Eric's girlfriend, was rushed to Lincoln hospital, where she was pronounced dead. The FDNY said in a tweet, "Per FDNY Fire Marshals the cause of this morning’s fatal all hands fire which killed two people and left one other in serious condition at 110 East 129 Street in Manhattan was lithium ion batteries from E-Bikes/Scooters."
Per FDNY Fire Marshals the cause of this morning’s fatal all hands fire which killed two people and left one other in serious condition at 110 East 129 Street in Manhattan was lithium ion batteries from E-Bikes/Scooters. pic.twitter.com/ubBT75Pf5m— FDNY (@FDNY) August 3, 2022
Hours after the fire, Ericka's mother arrived at the scene, visibly distressed, according to the Daily News. "I still can't believe it!" the mother cried. "'I can't move! My baby is gone!" Eric's son, Erick Jr, described his father as "a good guy". He confirmed that Anderson did not live in the apartment but was visiting when the fire broke out.
A young girl, an adult woman, and three dogs have been killed in an apartment fire in East Harlem that officials say was sparked by the exploding battery of an electric bike.— MassiVeMaC (@SchengenStory) August 3, 2022
Ericka Williams, 5, and Chanise Anderson, 36, were identified as the deceased victims by the Daily News pic.twitter.com/hS9YWXT3L4
The FDNY has warned in recent times that battery-powered E-bikes, popular with New York's delivery drivers, are a growing source of horrific fires. So far in New York this year, five people have died and 66 have been injured in fires sparked by lithium-ion batteries like the ones used by power e-bikes, the FDNY said. Experts have said that such fires are often caused by cheap e-bikes, the massive number of delivery drivers using them and overuse of damaged batteries.
The FDNY has warned people to use devices powered by lithium-ion batteries carefully. "If using a lithium battery, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for charging and storage. Always use the manufacturer’s cord and power adapter made specifically for the device. If a battery overheats, discontinue use immediately," it has said, adding, "These batteries are commonly used in cell phones, laptops, tablets, electric cars, and scooters. Lithium-ion batteries store a large amount of energy and can pose a threat if not treated properly. Like any product, a small number of these batteries are defective. They can overheat, catch fire, or explode."