VIJAYAWADA: A 40-year-old man was killed and three others, his wife and two daughters — received severe burn injuries when the battery of an electric scooter blew up while it was being charged in his rented accommodation at Gulabi Thota under Suryaraopet police station limits in the city early on Saturday. Identifying the deceased as DTP designer Kotakonda Siva Kumar, Circle Inspector K Janaki Ramayya said the tragedy struck the family a day after they had purchased the Boom Corbett 14 electric scooter.
Siva Kumar had removed the battery and plugged it indoors to recharge since the house lacked a socket outside. Around 3.30 am, the battery exploded, sparking ablaze. “This was Siva Kumar’s second electric scooter. As a result of the battery explosion, the living room caught fire,” Ramayya said. Following the explosion, the family rushed into the kitchen to escape the blaze. “The house lacked proper ventilation, and the thick
smoke had no escape routes,” the officer said. All of them suffered burns and were asphyxiated. Ramayya added that Siva Kumar died while being shifted to hospital. His wife Harathi (30) and children, Bindu Sri (10) and Sashi (6), were admitted to a private hospital with more than 30% burns. Their condition was reported to be serious. Incidentally, the accident occurred a day after Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari announced a plan to frame ‘quality-centric’ guidelines for manufacturers of electric vehicles.
Police registered a case under CrPC Section 174 (death under suspicious circumstances) based on a complaint by Harathi’s sister, and summoned the Coimbatore-based scooter manufacturer, Booma Innovative Transport Solutions Pvt Ltd (Boom Motors), and dealer Joy e-Bikes in Vijayawada. “The company representatives will visit the scene to ascertain the cause of fire,” the Inspector said. Meanwhile, bike dealer Satya was unaware of the incident until TNIE contacted him. He said a power overload-trig - gered electrical short-circuit might have led to the accident. Saturday’s was the first incident of EV battery explosion that claimed a life in the State, though similar blasts had been reported earlier. In Machilipatnam, electric scooter owner Skanda Kumar incurred a loss of around Rs 2 lakh after his vehicle went up in flames in the cellar where it was parked. Electrician A Murali Krishna of Eluru suffered a loss of Rs 4 lakh when his battery-operated scooter was gutted while being re-charged.