A lithium battery charger is being centered as the cause of Tuesday night’s fire and evacuation at KTVZ-TV in Bend.
The fire broke out just before 7:00 p.m. Bend Fire and Rescue responded with at least four fire trucks and several other rescue vehicles. It appeared firefighters attacked the fire both from inside the building and from the roof.
Bend Fire and Rescue said Wednesday it appears that a failure involving a battery charger in an interior office was to blame, but it’s not clear if the problem was the battery or the charger. The chargers were for camera and lighting batteries used by reporters.
The fire then spread to storage bins and bags. Bend Fire and Rescue credits staff at the station and first responders for limiting the damage.
No injuries were reported. Total damage estimates are $60,000.
KTVZ did not have newscasts Tuesday night or Wednesday morning, but was back on the air Wednesday afternoon, broadcasting from OSU-Cascades.
Bend Fire and Rescue has these tips for safe battery charging.
- Follow all manufactures guidelines for use of the charger and battery.
- Never charge a lithium battery that has been damaged, has signs of damage or is wet. Replace the battery before using or charging the device.
- Once the battery has charged, most manufactures suggest removing the battery from the charger or unplugging the charger to stop the charging process. With no power source, the battery and charger will have less of a chance to over heat or fail. Over charging can lead to fires.
- Set a timer to remind you when the charging is done so you can remove the battery.
- Keep chargers away from other combustibles in case they do catch on fire, its harder for the fire to spread.
- Stop using any charger or battery that appears damaged, isn’t charging properly or is malfunctioning. Replace the device immediately.
- Lithium batteries can be recycled, please do not throw them in the trash. They can be taken to your local recycling/transfer center for recycling and many electronics stores have battery recycling bins. The components can be made into new batteries. Alkaline batteries can be disposed of into the regular trash. Deschutes County Solid Waste and local garbage companies ask that you do not throw them in the trash.
- Lithium batteries in the trash can get damaged and wet during the disposal process and pose a risk of a fire in the trash can, dumpster, garbage truck and possibly the landfill itself.