Firefighters in Sacramento County, California, say a Tesla fire required some 4,500 gallons of water to extinguish because the battery kept reigniting.Sacramento Metro Fire District / Instagram / TikTok
In social media posts, the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District (SMFD) noted that the vehicle, which Ronan Glon of AutoBlog points out is a Model S, was sitting in a wrecking yard when it caught on fire. The electric car had been in the yard for weeks following a severe accident, and it was the SMFD’s first experience with a fire in one of Elon Musk’s Teslas.
“The vehicle was fully involved with fire on arrival, and took a significant amount of time, water, and thinking outside the box to extinguish,” according to the SMFD. “Crews knocked the fire down, but the car kept re-igniting and off-gassing in the battery compartment.”
With the aid of personnel at the wrecking yard, the car was placed on its side so firefighters could reach the battery compartment, but even “with direct penetration, the vehicle would still re-ignite due to the residual heat,” according to the SMFD.
The crew had to get creative to battle the stubborn blaze. They dug a ditch and placed the Model S in it before filling the ditch with water.
“The pit ultimately reduced the total amount of water needed, estimated at 4500 gallons, and limited the runoff of contaminated water,” according to the fire district. “The vehicle was fully extinguished, and no injuries were reported.”
A Tesla Model S Emergency Response Guide from 2016 states that some 3,000 to 8,000 gallons of water may be needed to extinguish a battery fire.
“This is a whole new animal for the fire service,” SMFD Capt. Parker Wilbourn told the Washington Post. “We’re still trying to wrap our heads around the [electric vehicle] fires.”
In an unrelated incident last month, a driver in Vancouver had to kick out the window when his Tesla Model Y caught fire. Jamil Jutha broke through his window “after an electrical malfunction caused the vehicle doors to lock shut,” leaving him trapped “as smoke began pouring in through vents,” Breitbart News reported.
“We’re very fortunate that this individual had the wherewithal and the strength to kick the window out,” said Chief Brian Hutchinson of the District of North Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services.
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