Cibolo house fire believed to have sparked from lithium battery charger

CIBOLO, Texas – A Cibolo family’s home is unlivable after a fire this week that is believed to have started with a lithium battery charger.

The family did not want their name made public but wanted to warn other families about the potential dangers.

The homeowners said they had just put their son to sleep in his crib Sunday evening and left him home with their parents while they went to fill up their vehicle with gas at a nearby convenience store.

Just a few minutes later, the woman’s mother called to tell them that the smoke detectors were alarming and saying, “fire!”

At first, they thought it was just an issue with the alarm’s batteries, but when the woman’s mother walked upstairs to check, she saw smoke coming from the home’s office area.

The woman’s parents quickly evacuated the baby and dogs while she rushed home with her husband and daughter.

The woman said fire crews from Cibolo and Schertz arrived within minutes and began fighting the fire.

When the fire was extinguished and they were able to walk through the home, they found the source of the fire — a battery charger.

A house fire in Cibolo on June 12, 2022 was believed to have been started by a lithium battery charger. (KSAT)

The homeowners used the common device to charge and discharge lithium batteries for their remote-controlled hobby vehicles.

“My husband had gone rock crawling that morning. After he returned home that afternoon, he set them to discharge,” the fire victim said.

The homeowners said they were aware of potential hazards with the battery recharging device, so they were always careful and kept an eye on it when it was in use.

“He even had a bag that was supposedly fire-safe to store the batteries,” the homeowner said. “He is always so, so careful. This was just the time that minutes count.”

She said in the short minutes they were away at the gas station, the charger must have overheated.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has warned about hazards associated with batteries and battery charges.

The National Fire Protection Association says while fires or explosions from lithium batteries are rare, they can be dangerous.

*Find tips for handling and disposing of lithium batteries at the end of this article.*

The homeowners said fire crews from Cibolo and Schertz helped spare further damage to their home and belongings by targeting the fire efficiently.

“During the shifts, they were being so kind, so polite and compassionate,” she said.

She said crews asked them if they had heard of the “Close Your Door” campaign?

“I replied, ‘no,’ but I am constantly closing doors because of kids, dogs and overall privacy. He said closing the doors helps keep the fire isolated as much as possible and helps delay further spread and damage,” the homeowner said. “So the closed closet within the office helped save the contents of that closet. The closed office where it began helped prevent spread to the adjacent playroom and downstairs. The closed attic entrance in the office helped the spread into that part of the attic.”

The homeowner said the quick response and efficient firefighting helped save many items in their home. And while they’re so thankful that nobody was injured, they’re heartbroken over the items that can’t be replaced.

“My husband lost everything of value that ever meant anything to him. Mementos from our wedding, cash from our dollar dance that we had stored in a glass wine bottle from our family’s winery,” she said. “(We) lost pictures of passed family members. All of the special things our children made him for Father’s day, Christmas and other special days.”

A house fire in Cibolo on June 12, 2022 was believed to have been started by a lithium battery charger. (KSAT)

For now, the family is staying with neighbors. They’re still figuring out long-term plans because they know the road to rebuilding may be a long one.

“There are many unknowns, but what I thank God for is we all made it out alive (and) that people were home to know it was happening,” the homeowner said. “This could have happened to anyone, anywhere. We have always been so careful, and this one time is when it overheated and caught our home on fire. If you have rechargeable batteries, please charge them in the safest possible place. Don’t step away from them, even for a few minutes. Make sure your smoke detectors are working properly, and listen to them if they send warnings. Close your doors if possible in your home. Thank your law enforcement and fire departments. Their training and response time saved our home.”

Lithium Ion Battery Safety Tips from the National Fire Protection Association:

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