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‘Trick Birthday Candles:’ Firefighters Share Safety Concerns About Electric Vehicle Battery Fires

Fire department officials are raising awareness of the dangers of electric vehicle battery fires, calling on regulators to increase electric vehicle safety standards for emergency responders. One fire department chief called electric cars “trick birthday candles” due to their tendency to reignite even after the fire has been put out.

The Regulatory Review reports on the dangers of electric vehicle battery fires, which behave very differently from traditional car fires. One fire department chief said that electric vehicles that catch on fire are “trick birthday candles,” due to their tendency to reignite even after the fire seems to be out.

Tesla car fire Canada ( Sons of Vancouver Distillery/YouTube)

Tesla Crash and fire in Mountain View, CA is being investigated by the NTSB

Tesla Crash and fire in Mountain View, CA is being investigated by the NTSB (Twitter/Dean C. Smith)

After a Tesla vehicle crashed in Mountain View, California, firefighters spent five hours battling the vehicle fire. The firefighters put out the flames and sent the car to an impound lot where the car promptly reignited. Five days later, the car once again burst into flames. Fire protection experts are now criticizing the lack of U.S. safety regulations aimed at preparing firefighters to handle these fires.

Electric vehicles use high-voltage lithium-ion batteries to run, which can often result in dangerously high temperatures if the cars catch fire. Emergency responders are also at risk of electric shocks from damaged lithium batteries when handling electric vehicles during a blaze.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recently stated that emergency responder guidebooks are inadequate, especially in the case of electric vehicles. The NTSB found that half of all U.S. fire departments are not prepared to handle electric vehicle fires and almost one-third of fire departments have no specific training for electric vehicles or hybrid cars that catch fire.

In June, Breitbart News reported that a Tesla vehicle fire required 4,500 gallons of water to extinguish. In May, Firefighters in Vancouver, Canada, began investigating a car fire involving a Tesla after an electrical malfunction caused the vehicle doors to lock shut, trapping the driver inside as smoke began pouring in through vents. The driver kicked out a window to escape. In July, a Tesla Model S Plaid erupted into flames outside of Philadelphia, trapping the owner inside after electronically activated doors refused to open, the car owner’s attorneys claim. The driver escaped from the Tesla, but the fire took more than two hours for the fire department to extinguish.

On a larger scale, Breitbart News recently reported on an electric bus fire that became a raging inferno without an accident or other damage to the vehicle.

“Officials said the fire was difficult to extinguish due to the thermal chemical process that produces great heat and continually reignites,” the outlet reported.

Assistant Fire Chief Jeffrey Naples noted that firemen had to use “copious” amounts of water to extinguish the flames.

“Lithium ion battery fires are difficult to extinguish due to the thermal chemical process that produces great heat and continually reignites,” fire officials told New Haven Register. “Exposures were protected at the scene.”

Two CT Transit workers were hospitalized as a precaution after being exposed to smoke. Moreover, two firefighters were also taken to a hospital to be treated for heat exhaustion.

Read more at the Regulatory Review here.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan




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