NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WPRI) — As lithium-ion battery fires keep cropping up, officials are asking people to handle the equipment with caution.

Central Falls Battalion Chief Christopher Gray said lithium-ion battery fires spread more quickly and reach higher temperatures, posing a risk to residents and firefighters.

“That’s an added issue for us with response times, like how quick we get there, what stage the fires are at,” Gray said.

Six residents were displaced Wednesday by a fire that was reportedly caused by lithium-ion batteries, according to the New Bedford Fire Department. Firefighters rushed to Hathaway Boulevard Wednesday morning for reports of smoke coming from a townhouse.

The fire broke out inside the basement of the townhouse and was quickly extinguished, though firefighters took extra precautions after discovering several lithium-ion batteries connected to a charger.

No one was injured and the cause has been deemed accidental.

Lithium-ion batteries can be found in smartphones, electric bikes and scooters, and gaming devices. Gray, who teaches a course on these types of fires, told 12 News proper storage and handling of these batteries can prevent a disaster.

“When you go to purchase any of these lithium-ion battery-powered, e-mobility or even your gaming systems, make sure that they’re UL listed,” Gray said.

UL certification means the product has been tested and is safe to use.

Gray said the batteries that are causing these fires don’t come from reputable manufacturers. Matt Aldred, the service manager for Trek Bicycle in Warwick, said purchasing online can be risky.

“There’s nothing to give any confidence in their quality, like I don’t know where they’re from, so I don’t trust these no-name batteries that I see on internet bikes at times,” Aldred said.

At the R.I. State House Thursday, legislators tested out e-bikes from companies like Mission Electric Bike, Trek, and Legend Bicycle. The e-bikes use the lithium-ion batteries and sellers told 12 News they should only be powered with the charger that comes with the bike to avoid problems.