Evacuations Underway in Columbus, Ohio After Lithium Battery Shipment Catches Fire

At approximately 0713 EST initial reports indicated that a Hazardous Material (HAZMAT) incident was underway on McKinley Avenue at Grandview Avenue in Columbs, Ohio. By 0811 EST, eyewitnesses reported that a truck carrying lithium-ion batteries caught fire near the intersection on the 1600 Block of McKinley Avenue. Evacuation orders were immediately issued.

The Columbus Fire Department told WCMH News that 5,900 pounds of lithium-ion batteries caught fire in a semi-truck and the risk of an explosion is increasing. An evacuation zone of a one-mile radius around the fire has been declared. As of this publication no injuries have been reported.

Despite the name Lithium-Ion, these batteries do not actually contain lithium which would constitute a Class-D fire (combustible metals) and thus require special powder extinguishers to fight. This fire can be extinguished with regular Class-A extinguishers (water) to reduce temperature, then covered with sand to remove oxygen. However, lithium-ion batteries still explode, hence the evacuation order.

This is developing.