A Kent man who almost lost his life in a devastating fire is now warning people of the risks when storing or charging e-scooters, after his burst into flames and changed his life forever.
Just over a week ago (17 April 2023), Kevin Record was asleep at his flat in Sheerness High Street when his beloved dog, Shogun, jumped onto his bed in the early hours of the morning to alert him to a fire.
The 43-year-old woke to find sparks coming from his e-scooter but within seconds it exploded, with flames rapidly spreading.
Panicked and disoriented, Kevin managed to escape the fire and smoke-filled room, however he sustained life-changing burns to the right side of his body.
Kevin was heartbroken when he discovered his dog, Shogun, had sadly died in the blaze.
He said: “I’m absolutely devastated by what’s happened, especially losing Shogun. He was everything to me and died saving my life.
“I can’t explain the speed of the fire. I had never seen anything like it. Within seconds, it was like a fireball that spread to everything in sight. It was like a grenade going off, just terrifying.”
Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) was called just after 1.35am on 17 April, and four fire engines were sent to the property where crews tackled the fire using hose reel jets - but the damage was irreversible and all of Kevin’s belongings were destroyed.
KFRS fire investigators believe a fault occurred while the e-scooter was on charge, causing the battery pack to overheat and catch alight.
Speaking from his hospital bed, where he’s being supported by his loved ones, Kevin said he routinely checked his e-scooter was in good working order, as he was aware of the fire risk with lithium-ion battery powered devices.
He said: “I’m quite into technology and thought I had a good understanding of electronics, but this just shows a fire like this can happen to anyone.
“I was a real advocate of things like e-scooters and e-cigarettes, but I wouldn’t ever buy anything like that again after going through this.
“I would never want this to happen to anyone else, so I hope by sharing my experience, I can help other people to stay safe.”
KFRS Crew Manager Steve Smart, who was one of the first firefighters at the scene, said: “Kevin absolutely had a lucky escape – if Shogun hadn’t of woken him up the outcome could have been very different.
“We’re grateful to Kevin for sharing his story, which we know can’t have been easy, but we hope it will help to raise awareness of the risks associated with lithium-ion batteries and encourage people take extra care, and to use and store them safely to reduce the chance of a fire.
“If you have any items powered by lithium-ion batteries please remember to:
- Only purchase devices and parts from reputable suppliers
- Charge and store them safely in line with the manufacturer’s guidance
- Only charge them when you’re at home and awake, so you’ll know quickly if there’s a fire
- Always unplug them after use
- Store them well away from escape routes or sleeping areas
“Also, it’s essential to have a smoke alarm on each floor of your home and to test it weekly - it could save your life.”
Click through the photos below to see the extent of damage caused to the flat, as well as some images of Kevin and Shogun.