14ymedio, Havana, 20 September 2021 — A fire in a house in the city of Matanzas caused the death of a 19-year-old girl and wounded two, a 13-year-old boy and a 20-year-old young man. The authorities presume that the girl died as a result of the injuries left by the flames from the fire of a ‘motorina‘ — an electric motorbike — as was explained to the local press by sources from the Ministry of the Interior.
They also specified that at this time several forensics experts are processing the evidence that was collected to determine details of what happened in the property, located on 9th street, of the Popular Council of Pueblo Nuevo, in the Camilo Cienfuegos district.
The head of the Matanzas Fire Station, Captain Juan Michel Eckelson Aldana, explained that they received the call at 2:20 am but that upon arrival, the neighbors were already putting out the fire with their own resources. He said the rescue team was able to confirm a “high concentration of smoke, poor visibility, high temperatures and a high level of combustion in the area of the room.”
The rescue ended in the early hours of the morning and Aldana pointed out that the material losses are “significant.”
Dr. Raúl Moreno Peña, head of the Plastic Surgery and Burns Service at Comandante Faustino Pérez Hospital, reported that the young woman died at the scene of “severe burns, inhalation and suffocation.”
Regarding the 20-year-old patient, he specified that he has 63% of the body surface with burns and presents a “critical life-threatening” condition. A situation very similar to that of the 13-year-old boy, who is admitted to the intensive care unit of the Eliseo Noel Caamaño Pediatric Hospital, and who is in serious and life-threatening condition.
Last May, a fire in a motorina caused the death of three members of a single family in the city of Sancti Spíritus, including a seven-year-old boy. The vehicle, which was plugged in to charge the lithium battery, exploded inside the house. The accident became the most serious of its kind in Cuba, where these accidents are increasingly frequent. In 2019, 208 fires of electric motorcycles with lithium batteries were recorded, 164 of them serious and 44 minor.
With the transportation crisis, electric motorcycles with lithium batteries have become increasingly popular on the island, a phenomenon that has increased since the product is also offered in state stores in freely convertible currency. In the last year, 10,000 total units of 21 models have been marketed, including motorcycles, bicycles, scooters and electric tricycles.
Official investigations revealed that among the main causes of fire are reckless acts when charging electric motorcycles, for example leaving the lithium battery charger connected without the corresponding control, using inappropriate chargers, not cooling the motorcycle before charging it, replacing devices original to the electric motorcycle or the illegal manufacture of batteries.
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