Grieving father echos charity plea urging political leaders to act, one year after fatal e-bike fire

12 June 2024

  • Scott Peden lost his partner and two children in an e-bike blaze one year ago in June
  • E-bike battery fires have increased in the last year as fires continue across the country
  • Scott echoes the call of Electrical Safety First to introduce vital safety measures for e-bikes to prevent future tragedies
  • Charity urges all political parties to commit to tackling deadly fires

A grieving father has echoed a charity's urgent plea for political leaders to address the risk of e-bike fires, one year after a battery blaze that claimed the lives of his family.

Scott Peden, 30 from Cambridge, lost his partner Gemma, 31 years old, and their two young children, 8-year-old Lilly and 4-year-old Oliver, during a fire caused from a battery for an e-bike purchased online.

The family’s two dogs also lost their lives in the catastrophic blaze in June last year, which left Scott in a coma for a month, fighting for his life sustaining prolonged injuries as a result.

Now, on the one-year anniversary of the fire, Scott is echoing the calls of consumer safety charity, Electrical Safety First, for all political parties to commit to bringing in vital safety laws to ensure others don’t suffer a similar heartache.

Sharing his story, Scott Peden, 30 years old from Cambridge, said: “June marks one year since I lost my partner and two children in an e-bike fire at my home last summer and life hasn’t been the same since. I feel like my life has ended and I don’t know how to move on. 

“Before the fire, I had no idea about the dangers of these lithium-ion batteries. I bought my battery online and just assumed it would be safe, I never imagined it could be so dangerous. The battery exploded under my stairs, whilst my family was asleep. Flames were coming up the stairs like a flamethrower. The fire and smoke filled the house up in seconds. I told them to jump but they couldn’t get out. I’ve lost everything from that one night and my heart has been left broken.

“If my story doesn’t show the desperate need for a change in regulation, then I don’t know what will. I’m urging all the political parties to come together to tackle the issue of e-bike fires so that no one has to go through what I did. My life has been ruined but I can help to save someone else’s.” 

Since then, Scott has been campaigning to raise awareness of the dangers of e-bike batteries, as he slowly tries to rebuild his life. 

To address the issue, Electrical Safety First has called for the introduction of independent third-party certification for e-bikes, e-scooters and their batteries to reduce the risk of substandard batteries entering people’s homes.

At present, manufacturers can self-declare their e-bikes and batteries are safe. The recommendations were first outlined last year in the charity’s comprehensive report, Battery Breakdown - the first report of its kind to assess the growing risk of e-bike and e-scooter fires and propose solutions to reduce the risk to households.

Similar requirements are already in place for other high-risk products, such as fireworks and heavy machinery.

In a moving video, released by Electrical Safety First, Scott bravely recalls the events that occurred the night the fire happened, when he tried his best to save his family. Now Scott is demanding change to regulate e-bikes to make sure they are safe. 

Lesley Rudd, chief executive of Electrical Safety First, commented: “Right across the country people are dying because of these fires, and people like Scott are left living with the grief and devastation. The status quo is killing people, ruining lives and continues to leave households at risk.

“We are urging all political parties and any future government to tackle this issue urgently. Time is of the essence, and we owe it to those who have lost their lives to ensure we do all we can to prevent further tragedies. Legislation is desperately needed, and it is unconscionable to let the status quo go unchanged.

“All political parties must to come together to tackle this issue and we want to work with any future government to address the problem as a priority. They will have the power to save lives and prevent future heartache.”

Recent FOI figures show e-bike fires are an increasingly problem across many parts of the country with figures released by QBI Insurance showing e-bike fires increased 70% in 2023.

Last year, 11 people lost their lives to fires involved e-bikes and e-scooters with hundreds injured as a result of the fires caused by the lithium-ion batteries powering these devices.

Other victims who have lost their lives to e-bike fires include Sofia Duarte, who died in London on New Years Day, 2023 at the age of just 21, when a converted e-bike caught fire during the night. Sofia was unable to escape the building with the fire blocking her escape route.  

Alda Simoes, 46, from London and lifelong family friend to Sofia and her family, said: “We are out of time to save our beautiful Sofia and everyone that has passed away like her. But we will do everything in our power to prevent others going through what Sofia's mum, me, family and friends are going through. 

“Change needs to happen. There are people dying, what are we waiting for? Sofia’s death must have a purpose. If nothing changes, her death will be in vain.”  

In the last few months alone, there have been multiple reports of devastating e-bike fires across the country. On March 21st during rush hour fire crews were called to an exploding e-bike on a train platform in Sutton, London with dramatic footage showing flaming battery cells being projected from the battery across the platform.  

Fire crews in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, were called to a property fire on Saturday 6th April, following a severe fire that resulted in one person being taken to hospital with serious injuries. The cause was deemed to be a charging e-bike. Five others suffered minor injuries.  

Four children were among six people taken to hospital due to smoke inhalation following an e-bike fire near Croydon at the beginning of April that caused serious damage to their maisonette, destroying the staircase between the first and second floor.