Lithium battery explosion averted at Merewether

A Merewether man has had a lucky escape from a lithium battery explosion, thanks to the quick thinking of Fire and Rescue NSW. 

Firefighters were called to a home on Mary Street at about 9am yesterday after a resident called and said they had accidentally punctured a battery while removing it from a disused mobile phone.

The man was seeking advice on how to best handle the situation after the battery began emitting an unusual odour known as ‘off-gassing’. The odour indicated the batter was overheating and in danger of violently exploding and causing a lot of damage.

Fire crews told the man to carefully take the battery outside and wait for them to arrive, but while they were en route it’s understood the man conducted an internet search which lead him to place the battery in salt water. 

Doing that created an additional high fire risk and possible explosion as salt water is a conducting agent for electricity.

When they arrived, Fire and Rescue NSW transferred the battery to fresh water and ultimately averted what could have been a much more serious outcome.

The battery continued to bubble as it possibly attempted a thermal reaction from the salt water exposure; however, this was being countered by the fresh water. Firefighters used specialist equipment to monitor the temperature of the battery and the gases in the atmosphere, ultimately deeming the area safe.

They advised the resident to leave the battery in the fresh water for several hours and regularly check on it to ensure the response was having the desired effect.

He was also given instructions on how to properly dispose of the battery.

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