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Florida Tesla Crash Highlights Challenges of Electric Vehicle Fires

March 08, 2019

DAVIE, FL. – A fatal Tesla crash in Davie, Florida, has highlighted the challenges emergency responders face when dealing with electric vehicle fires, according to an online news story published by The crash killed the driver and caused a fire in the vehicle’s battery that reignited three times.

On February 24, a man driving a 2016 Tesla Model S in Davie somehow left the roadway and crashed into a tree in the median. After hitting the tree, the Tesla caught on fire. Police who immediately responded to the crash were unable to free the driver before the vehicle was consumed in flames. Firefighters at the scene put out the fire, but the vehicle’s battery kept reigniting. 

As the vehicle was being towed to a local yard, it caught on fire again. And while it was sitting in the yard, it caught on fire two additional times. The Davie Fire Marshal says his office received a call from a California fire chief and from Tesla with advice on how to deal with the electric vehicle’s battery pack. Tesla’s vehicle manual states that the lithium-ion batteries can take 24 hours to completely extinguish. 

The incident has highlighted the unique problems posed by electric vehicle fires and the need for emergency responders to have special training for these situations. Often, the tactics used for gasoline vehicle fires will not work on electric vehicles, and they can potentially make the issue worse.

“We are going to be coming up with some training in the near future as to how to deal with this kind of stuff,” said Sgt. Mark Leone with the Davie Police Department. 

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Category: Personal Injury

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