An electric car sold by Elon Musk’s Tesla burst into flames on a Pennsylvania highway on Tuesday after a large piece of debris became lodged underneath it. The car fire ended up reducing the electric vehicle to a pile of scrap metal and ash. Luckily the car’s owners and their dog escaped unscathed.
Pennsylvania state police said the Tesla was traveling west on the highway when it caught fire, according to a report by WTAJ, which added that one lane ended up being restricted for some time as crews put out the fire.
Michelle and Bob, the couple who were driving their Tesla Model S on a road trip to Yarmouth, Massachusetts, said they had just brought the car home last Monday.
What allegedly caused the fire was a large piece of debris that was in the middle of the road, which the couple was unable to avoid, their daughter said. From there, the electric vehicle started to smoke once the debris was underneath it.
After they pulled over and got out of their car, it immediately caught fire. The couple and their dog, Coco, escaped unscathed.
Firefighting crews responded to the scene, where they spent nearly two hours and approximately 12,000 gallons of water to extinguish the blaze, given that the vehicle’s lithium-ion battery kept reigniting.
The Columbia Volunteer Fire Company, which was also present at the scene, said they believe this was the first Tesla-related fire reported in the area.
Photos from the fire’s aftermath shared by WTAJ show that the Tesla was completely unrecognizable, and reduced to a pile of scrap metal and ash.
Fires involving electric vehicles are notoriously difficult to put out.
Last month, electric vehicles caught on fire in Florida after becoming waterlogged during Hurricane Ian, giving firefighters “a new challenge” they “haven’t faced before,” according to one Florida official.
In a letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) requesting information on the fire risks created by saltwater mixing with the batteries of electric vehicles, Florida Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis said that he “saw with my own eyes an EV continuously ignite, and continually reignite, as fireteams doused the vehicle with tens-of-thousands of gallons of water.”
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