Date
22 January 2017
A custom-built mega battery pack (inset) led to a blaze at an apartment in Kowloon late Monday. Photos: Google Maps, Internet
A custom-built mega battery pack (inset) led to a blaze at an apartment in Kowloon late Monday. Photos: Google Maps, Internet

Fire at Kowloon flat as DIY lithium battery pack explodes

A fire broke out at a flat in Kowloon Monday night following a small explosion involving a home-made battery charger, but fortunately no one was injured.

The accident took place at a building at 67 Ma Tau Chung Road as a man was attempting to recharge his lithium battery pack, Metro Daily Hong Kong reports.

The custom battery pack was made of 200 pieces of rechargeable lithium batteries.

The man had apparently been using the DIY device to power an IP security cam installed in his car.

As he was recharging the battery pack at around 11 pm, the device started emitting smoke before eventually exploding.

The man evacuated the apartment quickly along with his girlfriend and their five cats.

Firemen put out the blaze in about 20 minutes after arriving at the scene.

According to Apple Daily, the 35-year-old flat owner made the large battery pack for an in-car IP camera as his vehicle had been vandalized earlier.

The DIY device for the surveillance camera ultimately led to the fire in his apartment.

Ringo Lee Yiu-pui, chairman of the Institute of the Motor Industry Hong Kong, said many IP cameras and newer in-car cameras have a standby mode which would mean less power consumption.

The devices can conduct surveillance 24 hours a day but will record footage only when someone approaches the car.

Lee noted that as a car battery has a large capacity and is much safer to use, one need not worry about running out of power in normal situations.

Speaking about Monday’s accident, Lo Kok-keung, a fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, said the explosion may have taken place as there were a large number of lithium batteries being recharged at the same time.

If one unit gets overheated, it could cause the entire device to explode, he said.

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