E-Bike battery sparks flat fire

An Upper Austrian pensioner was hospitalised with smoke poisoning after an exploding battery from an electric bike caused a massive blaze in his flat yesterday (Weds).The man, 73, tried to fight the fire with blankets himself before firemen – called in by a neighbour – dragged him to safety. He passed out minutes later.Fire-fighters in Bad Ischl said today that the damage was tens of thousands of Euros, adding that especially the kitchen – where the battery was plugged in for charging – had been devastated.Sales of E-Bikes have soared in Austria over the past few months as the federal government as well as some provincial political decision-makers decided to subsidy their purchase with hundreds of Euros.