There are certain known problems with EVs that we all know about, even if we’re somewhat open to the idea of an EV. They take forever to charge. They’re expensive. They can’t go as far as most combustion-powered automobiles. In the event of a natural disaster or some other problem, you can’t just fill them up, making them useless if they run out of battery power.
And there’s another big problem that many people forget about: they’re dangerous, as a fire that ignites the lithium-ion battery is near impossible to put out, taking forever to put out and requiring tens of thousands of gallons of water. And that water that washes away is full of toxic lithium…
Such is what was exposed yet again recently when a Tesla caught flame in Stamford, Connecticut. Here’s what the Stamford Fire Department had to say about the incident:
At 11:18 AM today, the Stamford Combined 911 Dispatch Center began receiving calls of a car fire behind the Blue Ginger Restaurant at 1132 E Main Street. Additional calls reported the car to be a Tesla. Two engines, a truck company, and an incident commander were initially dispatched to the incident bringing 14 firefighters to the scene as part of the initial assignment in just a few minutes.
Engine Company 4 arrived on the scene at 11:24 and reported a car fire in a parking lot, heavily involved in flames. It was quickly confirmed that the vehicle on fire was a battery-powered Tesla. The vehicle was several car lengths away from other vehicles and posed no immediate danger to them. Electric vehicle fires have been in the news frequently due to the difficulty many departments are having extinguishing them.
An initial 1-3/4″ hose line was stretched by the crew of Engine 4, who began pouring 200 gallons of water per minute onto and into the vehicle. As soon as Engine 4 was hooked up to a hydrant, two additional 1-3/4 lines were put into action by other fire companies on the scene, delivering a total of 600 gallons per minute to the fire. Firefighters continued pouring water onto the fire for 40 minutes before they were able to declare the fire extinguished.
“A normal car fire usually requires no more than a single hose line,” according to Deputy Chief Eric Lorenz, the Incident Commander for the fire. “But we know from other Fire Departments’ experiences that large amounts of water are the only solution when compared to a traditional vehicle fire.” he continued.
And a hazardous waste team had to get involved, as the report added, noting:
The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, the Stamford Fire Haz Mat Team, and a hazardous waste cleanup company are all still on the scene at of 4:30 PM, preparing to remove the vehicle to a safe and secure location. “This is no routine car fire,” Chief Lorenz said. “It requires special handling.”
Watch the roaring blaze and first few minutes of the firefighters’ response here:
And here’s a longer video showing what happened later during the blaze:
Gas is obviously combustible too, as is diesel. They burn to power the vehicle. But those fires can be put out and firefighters know how to do so. A lithium battery fire roaring in the middle of the street? Not so much.
So there’s yet another EV issue to worry about.
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