Warwick lithium-ion battery facilities prepare to reopen one year after back-to-back fires

The county fire coordinator says there’s still no way to put out lithium-ion fires like the ones seen at the Convergent sites should they catch fire again.

Blaise Gomez

Jun 3, 2024, 8:04 PM

Updated 21 days ago

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Two lithium-ion energy storage facilities in Warwick that caught fire and caused health concerns while they burned for days last year are now getting ready to reopen, News 12 has learned.
Warwick Mayor Michael Newhard says Convergent Power and Energy will reopen under a monitored “recuperation plan” with new lithium-ion batteries that the company considers to be waterproof.
The company stores energy for Orange & Rockland Utilities at two locations in Warwick – on Church Street and County Route 1 on the grounds of Warwick Valley School District.
News 12 was alerted to the update by neighbors who sent in photos of large battery cells at both sites being swapped out with cranes. The fires worried many residents while they burned for days without any way to be put out.
“They just spontaneously, literally blew up,” says Dominick Dam. “They had this distinct smell that I’ve never smelled in my entire life.”
People living near the sites reported the air smelled like glue during the blazes and trees nearby turned black.
Convergent said the fires were caused by water damage during storms. County officials said the burning lithium-ion batteries emitted toxins like hydrogen cyanide and carbon monoxide at levels they considered to be safe.
“Just seeing the movement back there again, it’s like are we really doing this again,” said Dam.
Newhard says the village is monitoring the site on Church Street and that the village and town placed a moratorium on the opening of any additional lithium-ion energy storage facilities.
Warwick School Superintendent David Leach says the site on their property is also preparing to reopen with redesigned batteries and that the safety of the reopening is being monitored by the district. Convergent has not yet returned calls for information.
Newhard says it’s not clear how soon the site in the village could reopen.
The county fire coordinator says there’s still no way to put out lithium-ion fires like the ones seen at the Convergent sites should they catch fire again.


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