A fire in an electric scooter showroom in India has killed eight people, Reuters reports. Early investigations suggest that the blaze could have been caused by faulty battery cells and battery modules.
The fire broke out at a dealership in the Southern city of Secunderabad and is said to be “the deadliest such incident” in the country. Eight people were killed in the blaze and a further 11 were injured.
Local police said that the dealership was located in a hotel basement in the city, and that it housed “some two dozen electric scooters.” During the blaze, the hotel above was engulfed in smoke, which caused “most” of the fatalities. Reuters reports:
Police and firefighters used cranes and other equipment to pluck stranded hotel guests from upper floors of the four-storey building as smoke billowed out of its windows, media images showed.
“Those staying on the first and second floors were overpowered by smoke and the maximum casualties are from those floors,” C.V. Anand, the police chief of the neighboring city of Hyderabad, told Reuters partner ANI.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was saddened by the deaths and promised compensation for the casualties in the fire.
The name of the dealer and the brand of scooter involved in the fire has not yet been shared by authorities.
City police official, Chandana Deepti, told Reuters: “There were electric scooters parked where the fire started.
“We don’t know if it started because of overcharging and then spread or whether it started elsewhere. That is still being established.”
The blaze is the latest in a string of deadly e-scooter fires in India so far this year. The incident has alarmed lawmakers in the country, who are pushing the electric mobility solutions in the fight against pollution in India’s largest cities.
Earlier this year, such concerns forced policymakers to launch an investigation into e-scooters over safety concerns.