Pimlico flat fire sparked by 'dangerous' UPP ebike battery prompts warning against Chinese manufacturer

An UPP ebike battery (right) from a fire in Kensington in January, and Johnson’s Place (let) where Tuesday’s fire took place (ES Composite)
An UPP ebike battery (right) from a fire in Kensington in January, and Johnson’s Place (let) where Tuesday’s fire took place (ES Composite)

A dodgy lithium battery pack on an electric bike is believed to have sparked a fire in a two-storey maisonette in Pimlico - the second fire this year to be linked to the Chinese battery manufacturer UPP.

One resident needed to use a neighbour’s ladder to escape the blaze, which has led the London Fire Brigade to issue a warning against using the “dangerous” UPP batteries.

Firefighters were called to Johnson's Place at around 2pm on Wednesday and found the ground floor hallway was partly damaged. Residents of the flat had escaped and were unhurt.

Three fire engines and a crew of 15 were dispatched and had extinguished the blaze by 2.20pm.

"E-bikes and e-scooters, which have become London's fastest-growing fire risk, should not be stored on escape routes. If you can't keep them outside or in a shed, they should be put in a room where you can shut a door and contain a fire,” the London Fire Brigade said.

During their investigation, a battery manufactured by a company called UPP, whose products have been linked to a number of fires in the UK, was discovered.

Last month the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) announced it has taken enforcement action against UPP.

Five online marketplaces have been issued with Withdrawal Notices, which require them to stop supplying the UPP battery from the Chinese-based manufacturer.

The Brigade's Assistant Commissioner for Fire Safety, Charlie Pugsley, said: "The lithium batteries that power these vehicles have failed catastrophically and caused devastating fires.

“We’re asking people to check whether they have a UPP battery at home. If you do, stop using it right away, and contact the seller.

"Often, these batteries fail if they are used with the wrong charger, are faulty, counterfeit or become damaged.”

Graham Russell, chief executive of OPSS, said: “We consider these UPP batteries to be dangerous, and that is why we are taking this action to stop them being supplied.

“Consumers need to be aware of the risk of these batteries failing, and the potential fatal consequences that can occur. If anyone owns one, they should not use it and contact the seller for redress."

In January 80 people were evacuated from a Kensington hotel after an UPP battery caused a fire and damaged the hotel. There were no reports of any injuries.

UPP has been contacted for a response.