My girlfriend was killed in an e-bike fire – I tried to save her and our last conversation haunts me | The Sun

A MAN who lost his girlfriend in an e-bike fire said he tried to save her – and now their last conversation haunts him.

Luis Zambrano, 21, was forced to jump out of a window naked when smoke billowed through his flat on Old Kent Road, south London.

A fireball erupted through the property, which was on top of a restaurant, on New Year's Day 2023 when an electric bike exploded.

Luis and girlfriend Sofia Duarte, 21, were sleeping after finishing their shift at a club when the bike was being charged on the ground floor.

Unaware of the horror that was unfolding, the couple woke around 5pm to neighbours screaming their names.

Unable to breathe and surrounded by smoke Luis darted out of bed and opened the door to be hit with a "heat blast".


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In that instant, Luis said he knew they had to jump.

He told MyLondon: "I had never experienced a fire in my life, it smelled like acid.

"It was really unbreathable, immediately I closed the door.

"That's when I said, 'We are jumping'."

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Recalling their heartbreaking final conversation, Luis told Sofia: "We need to jump."

He said she pleaded with him saying "No no" – but he knew it was the only option and begged her to follow him.

As Luis opened the window ready to leap to safety, Sofia ran for the stairwell.

Luis said: "She ran quicker than I could react. I did everything to find her."

After struggling to find the love of his life in the cloud of smoke, Luis jumped, hitting the roof of the restaurant.

He was rushed to hospital where he was treated for smoke inhalation and had Carbon Monoxide levels in his blood.

Sofia was tragically found by firefighters in the hallway near to Luis' bedroom.

Luis is now helping the London Fire Brigade (LFB) raise awareness on e-bikes and lithium battery fires.

LFB's Deputy Commissioner Dom Elli said: "Sofia’s death is a tragedy, and our condolences are with her family and friends. We are working hard to prevent these types of incidents in the future.

“E-bikes and e-scooters are becoming more common in London and the risk of significant fires is rising too.

"We want people to travel safely and be aware of the risks that the batteries present as part of our #ChargeSafe campaign.

"Never block your escape route with anything, including e-bikes and e-scooters.

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"The only way to be sure of a legal, safe and reliable e-bike is to buy one in complete form, from a trusted and reputed retailer.

"The number of incidents our fire crews are attending shows that buying a product from a reputable seller will help protect you, your family and property from bursting into flames – not forgetting the peace of mind it can give."

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