British Columbia

Vancouver woman sues e-bike, battery companies over fire that killed spouse

A Vancouver woman is suing several e-bike and e-scooter companies over a fatal fire two years ago that killed her partner, alleging a faulty battery caused his death.

Fire engulfed couple's downtown apartment on Jan. 31, 2022

A lithium-ion e-bike battery is seen on a bicycle
The City of Vancouver says e-bike and e-scooter batteries have caused numerous fires in the city in recent years, and urges people to be cautious when charging and storing the lithium-ion batteries at home. (Submitted by City of Vancouver)

A Vancouver woman is suing several e-bike and e-scooter companies over a fatal fire two years ago that she says killed her partner.

Kellyann Sharples' lawsuit alleges that faulty lithium-ion batteries caused her spouse Tim Lilley's death.

The early-morning fire engulfed the couple's downtown Vancouver apartment on Jan. 31, 2022, according to a statement of claim filed in provincial court last Tuesday.

Sharples' lawsuit names Vancouver-based e-scooter vendor Motorino, Surrey-based repair shop Royer Batteries, Toronto-based e-bike distributor Daymak, and Chinese manufacturer Shenzhen Minjyu Energy Technology.

None of the Canadian defendants could be reached for comment Saturday.

"The fire was ignited by a defective lithium-ion battery," Sharples' lawsuit alleged.

"Jets of flaming gas venting from the tops of cells in lithium-ion battery packs turned each into a tiny, unguided metal rocket. 

"Ejected from the battery pack by the explosion of neighbouring cells ... these loose cells ricocheted around the room, igniting new fires and spreading the blaze rapidly and erratically."

WATCH | Deadly Vancouver hotel fire prompts concerns about poor-quality e-bike batteries: 

Concerns raised over e-bike batteries after hotel explosion

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Concerns are being raised about the safety of poor quality e-bike batteries after an overcharged or faulty one became the suspected cause of a deadly hotel fire in Vancouver.

None of the allegations have been tested in court. 

Sharples said in her statement of claim she escaped the fire in her home by shattering the bedroom window and climbing across an exposed ledge, four storeys above ground, to a neighbour's balcony. 

Her lawsuit alleges she suffered burns and an injury to her left knee, as well as post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety.

She called Lilley "a devoted spouse," noting that his death caused her loss of financial support, care and guidance, as well as funeral expenses. 

The fire is the latest allegedly involving a battery for increasingly popular e-bikes and e-scooters.

According to Vancouver Fire Rescue Services, five people were killed in the city in 2022 "as a result of rechargeable batteries, including lithium ion batteries," the service said on the social media site X.

"Don't overcharge, modify or use damaged batteries."


David P. Ball


David P. Ball is a multimedia journalist with CBC News in Vancouver. He has previously reported for the Toronto Star, Agence France-Presse, The Globe & Mail, and The Tyee, and has won awards from the Canadian Association of Journalists and Jack Webster Foundation. Send story tips or ideas to, or contact him via social media (@davidpball).