EDWARDSVILLE - At 3:14 a.m. Monday, the Edwardsville Fire Department was dispatched to a report of a basement fire in a residence on Gerber Woods Drive in Edwardsville.

When fire crews arrived, they found a home evacuated by its residents and family dog.

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"The fire appeared to start on, or near, a battery-powered motorcycle stored in the basement," Edwardsville Fire Chief James Whiteford said. "Occupants reported they heard and felt an explosion followed by smoke detectors sounding, which woke them up and allowed them to escape. Pressure from the explosion broke several windows and blew two basement doors off the hinges, but no one was injured."

Edwardsville Fire Department was able to quickly douse the flames with help from mutual aid fire departments from Glen Carbon, Collinsville and Troy.

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Chief Whiteford said the Fire Department has been training on the hazards of rechargeable battery fires.

"They are challenging fires. If batteries overheat when charging, they can give off explosive gasses and we think that is what happened here. This is the first electric vehicle fire we have had in Edwardsville, but because of the increase in battery-powered vehicles, bikes and scooters, I don’t expect it to be the last," he said.

Whiteford warned to charge electric vehicles outside whenever possible and be sure to use only manufacturer-approved equipment when charging batteries of any kind.

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