Lithium batteries are blamed for two devastating house fires in Macomb Township, Michigan in recent days.
Authorities investigating an Oct. 21 fire that destroyed a 100-year-old farmhouse in Macomb Township and killed two dogs believe that a lithium battery charging a weed trimmer may have caused the tragic fire.
According to The Macomb Daily, Steve and Doniece Langdon and their three sons were not at home at the time the fire broke out, but their two dogs were inside the home. Both pets reportedly died of smoke inhalation.
“The fire department was trying so hard to give CPR to Rusty, the beagle, but they couldn’t save him,” a relative of the family told The Macomb Daily.
Firefighters believe the fire broke out in the rear of the two-story house where the weed trimmer was charging. The fire caused extensive damage, but the family plans to start renovating and repairing the home, which they have lived in since 2001.
Another Macomb Township home was completely destroyed in a fire believed to be connected to a lithium battery.
That fire occurred around 1 p.m. on Nov. 11. According to the Macomb Township Chronicle, a neighbor who spotted the fire rushed to the home to warn the family, a single mother and her four children.
Two children, including a 1-year-old, were home when the fire broke out, but they managed to make it out before the flames engulfed the house, according to Detroit’s WXYZ. A pet reptile still in the home was rescued by firefighters.
It took firefighters about 20 minutes to beat back the blaze that had consumed the house. By the time the flames were extinguished, the home and everything in it were a total loss.
According to the Macomb Township Chronicle, investigators suspect a charging lithium battery is to blame for starting the fire. They did not say what kind of device the lithium battery was used to power.
Rechargeable lithium batteries, also called lithium-ion batteries, can cause intense flames and explosions if there is a manufacturing deficiency or damage. Lithium batteries can also overheat if left to charge for long periods of time, triggering a chemical reaction that can be difficult to contain once it starts. Many people who try to snuff lithium battery fires find the batteries reignite even though they appear to be extinguished.