Motorized wheelchair catches fire in Madison

Posted July 10, 2012, at 3:52 p.m.

MADISON, Maine — A motorized wheelchair caught fire Tuesday morning while sitting on the deck of an apartment building that houses elderly residents.

The Madison Fire Department responded to a call at 9:43 a.m. that an electric scooter had caught fire at 1 Madison Ave.

“One of the tenants was outside watering the plants when she noticed the scooter was on fire,” said Laurie Manzer, resident service coordinator for the apartment complex named One Madison Avenue.

The scooter had been sitting on the deck for several days without being used, and it wasn’t being charged when it caught on fire. It was owned by one of the tenants.

Manzer said she was able to extinguish the foot-high flames with a fire extinguisher before the fire department arrived.

“He’d been having trouble charging it. Obviously there was something wrong with it,” said Manzer.

“It had to have been a short circuit [that started the fire],” said Madison Fire Chief Roger Lightbody. “You could see it definitely started around the batteries.”

Lightbody said the fire gave off a lot of black smoke because of the plastic on the motorized wheelchair.

“That’s a first for me. I’ve never seen one of them go [up in flames before],” said Lightbody.

Manzer didn’t know what company produced the chair.

“It’s still sitting in our parking lot,” said Manzer. “I think the tenant will call the company [he bought it from].”

No one was hurt by the fire, said Lightbody.