By Gus Saltonstall
A rapid delivery center on the Upper West Side, otherwise known as a “dark store,” was just issued two violations for failing to safely handle lithium-ion batteries, and failing to maintain a proper fire system, West Side Rag has exclusively learned.
On November 14, the FDNY Special Inspection Unit visited GETIR at 2681 Broadway, near the corner of West 102nd and Broadway, which is app-based, quick-service grocery center that does not allow customers inside, but instead deploys a team of delivery people.
The FDNY issued the following two violations.
- Violation issued for failing to provide and maintain a working fire protection system
- Failing to comply with standards associated with charging and storage of lithium-ion batteries. Violation issued for charging more than five batteries and devices closely together.
The FDNY visited the store after a constituent reached out to Councilmember Gale Brewer’s office to alert her to the dangerous-looking storage of the ion batteries. Brewer was then able to notify the FDNY, which quickly visited the store and issued the violations.
The Special Inspection Unit will return to the GETIR store multiple times to ensure the violations have been corrected.
Ion-lithium batteries used in electric scooters and bikes continues to be a growing safety issue across the city. On Monday morning, two people were sent to the hospital with life-threatening injuries after flames possibly connected to a lithium-ion battery broke out in a building on Broadway between West 98th and 99th streets.
Since January 2023, lithium-ion batteries have sparked 217 fires in New York that have led to 120 injuries and 17 deaths.
Brewer, who has already passed multiple pieces of legislation on the subject, is currently advocating for the installation of battery kiosks where e-bike and e-scooter riders can exchange their depleted batteries with fully charged one.
Popwheels, a Brooklyn-based startup already provides the service on a smaller scale.
Other already-enacted legislation, including Local Law 42, prohibits the assembly or recondition of a used lithium-ion battery, which makes them more dangerous.
Subscribe to WSR’s free email newsletter here.