Feature of the battery:
- Voltage: 48 V
- Capacity: 620 A.h
- Dimensions: 83 * 198 * 750 (long * wide * high)
- Mass: 35 Kg
In a warehouse subject to registration (section 1510), a fire started at around 6 p.m. on an electric battery supplying a forklift truck. Incorrect operation during a recharging operation would have been most likely the cause of the event. Contact between bare electrical wires and the forklift’s metal bodywork would have resulted in a shower of sparks and electrical arcing.
Wait for the battery to be discharged entirely
The fire was quickly brought under control with a fire extinguisher. In the absence of suitable equipment to drain the battery, which was producing electrical arcs and sparks that prevented it from being disconnected, the firefighters were alerted at about 7 p.m. While the battery was discharging on its own (the only solution for intervening and isolating the device), the site was secured and CO2 extinguishers are placed around the forklift. After charging tests indicated the absence of danger, the battery cables were secured. The forklift was then evacuated outside the warehouse.
The operator’s analysis of the causes of the accident revealed failures, particularly with regard to the electrical cables:
- their length and the fact that they are joined together with adhesive tape hindered the natural folding movement of the boot;
- their condition was not regularly monitored.
The water-based fire extinguishers present in the charging room were not suitable for electrical equipment. In addition, the cable guides had been removed on some batteries when the charging station was designed to facilitate connections.
The operator has met with its service providers to improve the design of future installations. Plastic cable ties will be used to secure the cables from now on. A checklist of monitoring points was also drawn up.