SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KRON) – A Tesla was in flames after the car’s battery compartment “spontaneously” caught fire on the highway Saturday, the Sacramento Metro Fire District said on Twitter.
The Tesla Model S was traveling at “freeway speeds” when the fire broke out, officials said. Photos shared by the Sacramento Metro Fire District, seen below, show the front of the vehicle severely damaged.
The photos also show how crews had to lift the car to access the battery compartment.
No injuries were reported from this incident. Authorities shared video, which you can see at the top of this story, showing firefighters working to put the fire out on the shoulder of eastbound Highway 50 and Sunrise Boulevard in Rancho Cordova.
Crews used approximately 6,000 gallons of water to put out the fire. Officials said they needed to use so much water because the Tesla’s battery cells continued to combust.
Last summer, crews in Sacramento were called to a Tesla fire at a wrecking yard. Despite multiple attempts to put out the blaze, crews ultimately had to put the vehicle – which had been in an accident three weeks earlier – in a small pit filled with water to stop the battery compartment from reigniting. Crews used about 4,500 gallons of water on the fire.
In October, when the battery of a Tesla submerged in hurricane floodwaters became corroded and caught fire, Florida firefighters had to use roughly 1,500 gallons of water to put out the flames. It was one of many electric vehicles that were left disabled after Hurricane Ian moved through, Nexstar’s WFLA reports.
In November, Pennsylvania firefighters had to use 12,000 gallons of water to extinguish a Tesla Model S that had caught fire after hitting debris in the roadway, according to Nexstar’s WTAJ.
Sacramento Metro Fire Captain Parker Wilbourn told Nexstar’s KTXL in August that electric vehicle fires pose a more difficult challenge for fire crews than traditional combustion engines that use gasoline.
“When one battery catches fire, it preheats the next battery, the next battery and the next battery. It causes a fire and it is a chain reaction from there,” Wilbourn explained.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is also investigating a separate Tesla-related incident that closed part of a California roadway and left 16 people – including eight minors – injured on Thanksgiving. Authorities released video showing a Tesla Model S moving into the fast lane on the Bay Bridge in San Francisco before quickly coming to a halt. The unexpected deceleration, which reportedly happened while the vehicle was in Full Self-Driving mode, caused an eight-car pileup.
It’s unclear if Saturday’s Tesla fire is under investigation by federal officials.
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