Eighteen children were injured after a fire broke out Wednesday afternoon in a basement daycare center in the New York City borough of Queens, fire officials said.
The New York City Fire Department received a call after 2 p.m. Wednesday and found a «heavy fire» at a residence around 72nd and 147th streets.
fire chiefs said the fire was started by a lithium-ion battery.
The fire department said a total of 18 pediatric patients were removed from the building, one was in critical condition and was hospitalized. The other 17 were in stable condition and refused to receive medical attention at the scene.
Firefighters removed one of the pediatric patients from the area of the basement fire, authorities said.
The fire was under control about 40 minutes after firefighters arrived and was confined to the basement.
The New York City Department of Buildings said inspectors observed two commercial businesses, a day care center and a dental laboratory, operating out of the basement of the two-story single-family home.
After the inspection, the department issued tickets for construction work done in the basement without DOB work permits and for squatting in the basement «against city records,» the department said.
The department said the basement was for «accessory storage» and not for operating the two businesses.
«In the interest of public safety, and due to the severity of the damage caused by the fire, we are issuing a full evacuation order for the building,» a department spokesperson said.
FDNY Fire Chief of Operations John M. Esposito warned of the danger of charging lithium-ion batteries in homes.
«Lithium ion batteries, we’ve had issues with them in recent years on scooters and bikes and charging them, mismatching the batteries and charging cables and lower quality batteries,» he said. “They should not be loaded. in the driveway or on the way out of your house or apartment, you should not carry them overnight…carry them in a room with the door closed while you are awake and alert and at home.”