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Northern California firefighters used 4,500 gallons of water to extinguish a fire in a Tesla Model S that spontaneously ignited and kept reigniting in a junkyard earlier this month, the district said. Sacramento Fire Department.
The electric car had suffered significant damage in an accident three weeks earlier and had to be dismantled when it caught fire.
“The vehicle was fully involved in the fire upon arrival and took considerable time, water and thinking to extinguish,” the department said, noting that this was Tesla’s first fire ever. Metro Fire.
“Crews extinguished the fire, but the car continued to reignite and gasse in the battery compartment. In conjunction with on-site wrecking yard personnel, the Tesla was moved to the side to gain access to the battery compartment below.”
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The department said that even with direct penetration, the car continued to reignite due to residual heat. Responders eventually had to dig a small pit, place the car inside, and fill it with about 4,500 gallons of water.
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“The pit ultimately reduced the total amount of water needed,” the department said, “and limited the runoff of contaminated water.”
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No injuries were reported.
Teslas and other electric vehicles are known to have fire issues. It can be difficult to put out the flames because lithium-ion batteries in vehicles continue to burn until all the energy is released. It can take up to 24 hours to turn off, according to a first responder guide for the Tesla Model S.
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CEO Elon Musk admitted last year that there were “more challenges than anticipated” in the development of the new Model S and X battery. “It took quite a bit of development to make sure the battery new S and X is safe,” he said at the time, according to UKTN.
Tesla did not immediately respond to UKTN News’ request for comment overnight.