One fire may be an accident; two similar fires in a short period of time demonstrates a possible trend. The Murrieta Fire Department has responded to two separate structure fires last week, over a three-day period. These fires resulted in substantial property losses to Murrieta homes. During the investigation of these incidents, it was discovered that the cause of the fires was related to the charging of lithium polymer batteries (LIPO).
These batteries are generally used in radio-controlled airplanes and cars by hobbyists because they have a very high energy storage capacity. However, this makes them a significant fire hazard especially when they are being charged. The battery’s lithium mixes with oxygen in the air to produce excessive heat and possibly fire. The batteries do not need a fuel source and they can start fire leading to significant loss within a structure and be a threat to animals and people as well.
Insurance company investigators have also seen a trend that includes fires as a result of the improper use of the lithium polymer batteries. Specific warnings have been issued by manufacturers and it is encouraged by the user to follow these guidelines.
A list of specific practices has been issued and some of them are listed below:
Store the batteries in a fireproof container
Never leave charging process unattended overnight
Use specifically designed chargers for lithium batteries that do not have selectable settings
After a crash of your radio controlled vehicle let battery stand in a safe place for 30 minutes
Do not modify or alter battery packs from individual cell.
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Please call the Murrieta Fire Department with any other inquiries. (951) 304-3473