Sacramento Firefighters Struggle With Tesla Fire

Battery Fire Causes Problems for Local Firefighters

Sacramento Metro firefighters arrived at a wrecking yard on June 12 after a call about a Tesla fire in a vehicle that had been in an accident a few weeks before. However, extinguishing the blaze turned out to be more difficult than they thought. According to a Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District statement on social media, it took a long time, a lot of water and being able to think outside the box to put out the blaze because the car fire kept restarting.

Firefighters Submerge Battery in Water to Put out Tesla Fire

Off-gassing from the battery seemed to be involved. Moving the vehicle over on its side, the fire crews directly sprayed the battery, but it kept catching on fire again. Finally, the car was placed inside a pit, which firefighters filled with water. Once the battery compartment was submerged fully, they were successful in putting the fire out. 

Off-Gassing in a Lithium-Ion Battery

Off-gassing in a Li-ion battery happens during the early stage of battery failure. Once off-gassing occurs, the failed mechanism has to be removed, or the battery can catch fire. Many times, if the off-gassing is detected early enough, this process can be stopped, so thermal runaway will not occur.

Causes of Off-Gassing and Fires in Li-Ion Batteries

Lithium-ion batteries such as the type used in Teslas and other electric vehicles are fast to recharge and have fairly high power. They aren’t only used in electric automobiles but also in cell phones, computers, game controllers, watches and other devices. Mostly they are safe. 

However, if the battery is damaged, such as in a traffic accident or is defective, it can start a fire that is difficult to put out. In addition, the fumes are toxic. Unfortunately, fires involving a Li-ion battery can’t be put out in a conventional way. Some of the ways a temperature increase in a Li-ion battery that causes off-gassing, leading to thermal runaway and a fire or explosion include:

  • Internal or external short circuit
  • Overcharging
  • Over voltage
  • External heat
  • Too high a current
  • Improper storage
  • Defects
  • Battery damage 

Recalls and Accidents Involving Lithium-Ion Batteries

Electric motor vehicles such as those produced by Tesla and General Motors have caught on fire in a small percentage of instances. General Motors recalled around 120,000 of their Chevy Volt EVs due to a defect that could lead to a battery fire. In a large number of the incidents involving Teslas, the vehicle having been involved in a traffic collision was a major contributor to a subsequent car fire. This site keeps a record of such incidents.

Contacting an Injury Lawyer After an Electric Vehicle Fire

When the battery in your electric vehicle catches on fire, it can result in an accident, burn injuries, toxic fume inhalation and other trauma. If this occurs, you need the help of a Tesla accident lawyer to assist you in getting the compensation that you deserve by filing a product liability claim against the manufacturer. Going up against a big corporation to recover damages isn’t something you want to attempt on your own. At, we have a proven record of protecting our clients’ rights and obtaining for them the compensation they deserve.

Sacramento Personal Injury Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento personal injury lawyer. If you were injured in an accident that you didn’t cause, you may be able to recover compensation from the at-fault party. Contact our injury lawyers at (916) 921-6400 for our free and friendly advice. We can also be reached at (800) 404-5400 or by messaging us online

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Photo attribution: Image by Blomst from Pixabay 

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