A 9-year-old boy died in a fire on Wednesday, Sept. 1, after an electric scooter caught fire inside an illegally converted residential area in Queens, New York.

Remi Miguel Gomez Hernandez, a 9-year-old boy, was killed while a dozen people were hospitalized after a charging moped battery exploded and caught on fire as the young kid was trapped inside the basement of their home, according to CBS affiliate WLNY.

“The mom said she heard the boy saying ‘Mom, help me,’” Humberto Gilbert, a friend who was helping the family move, said. “We tried to go back three times to look for the child, but we couldn’t, because the fire, smoke, and heat did not let us.”

The mother of Hernandez has been left overwhelmed with grief, feeling a lot of emotions about her son’s sudden death, one of her neighbors recounted her reaction to the emotional night.

“The mother was in shock,” neighbor Adria Valerio said. “She was on the floor crying, crying, crying: ‘Why does this happen to me? Why does this happen to my son?’”

The building, a three-story Ozone Park residence, was reportedly illegally converted into a residential apartment and had not been equipped with any smoke alarms, firefighters deeming it unsafe for occupancy, the New York Daily News reported.

“Early this morning dispatch started receiving frantic calls from folks telling us their home was on fire and adults and children were trapped inside,” New York City Fire Department Commissioner Daniel Nigro said. “[What] caused the fire this morning? Charging a battery.”

This is the third fire of 2021 that was caused by a battery of an electric vehicle being charged indoors. Nigro said that a lot of these fires are started because people are using an after-market battery instead of one that is recommended by the manufacturer, according to the Register Citizen.

“It’s a new phenomenon in this city and we need to get a handle on it,” Nigro said. “[W]e’ll work very hard moving forward to make this a safer city by working on how we can eliminate fires started by charging batteries.”

A 9-year-old boy was killed in a fire at Queens on Wednesday after the battery of an electric scooter exploded and caught on fire. This is a representational image. Matt Chesin/Unsplash.

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