An investigation by St. Catharines Fire Services has determined that a fire on Thursday, Dec. 7, 2023, at a residence on St. Paul Street, was started by lithiumion batteries. The fire has been ruled accidental, and one person who was injured in the fire remains in hospital. Lithium-ion batteries are commonly found in devices such as smartphones, laptops, ebikes, e-cigarettes, and toys. “As we all utilize so many rechargeable devices in our homes, St. Catharines Fire Services would like to take the opportunity to remind residents that devices that use lithium-ion batteries are to be treated with care,” said Fire Chief Dave Upper. “Due to their design structure, they can overheat, causing thermal runaway and thus fires.” Safety tips to keep in mind when it comes to lithium-ion batteries include: • Use only the battery(s) and charger that came with the item from the manufacturer • Do not swap out batteries from between devices, even though they may fit • When charging the batteries, keep away from combustible items • Never charge a device under a pillow, or on a bed or couch • Do not keep charging a device once it is full charged – monitor the heat produced while charging – unplug if significantly hotter than starting temperature • Do not attempt to repair the batteries, including breaking the casing they are / may be enclosed in – damaged batteries will react • Do not make your own battery cell packages Lithium-ion batteries should also never be placed in the garbage. They need to be disposed of at a battery recycling location. A list of locations can be found on Niagara Region’s website.