Florida Home That Survived Hurricane Burns to the Ground from EV: 'A Ticking Time Bomb'


After surviving Hurricane Ian, some homes in Florida are facing a new danger: electric vehicles catching fire due to their batteries being corroded by the floods.

State Rep. Bob Rommel and state Fire Marshal Jim Patronis have been particularly vocal about the threat of EV fires in the aftermath of the hurricane.

Rommel tweeted on Monday about a house that had managed to outlast the hurricane, but couldn’t survive the EV fire that later started in the garage.

“This house survived Hurricane Ian with very little damage that was until the Tesla in the garage caught on fire. House is now destroyed,” Rommel wrote.

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Patronis later tweeted pictures of the destroyed house.

“This is the house [Rommel] pointed out yesterday that caught fire from an EV. Burned to the ground. Caught the neighbor’s house on fire too,” he wrote on Tuesday.

“Electric vehicles are catching on fire due to electrical system failure caused by saltwater storm surge from Hurricane Ian, catching homes on fire, endangering first responders and FL families. I’m calling on EV companies to partner with us to find solutions. We must take action,” Patronis tweeted.

In a video Patronis shared along with those comments, firefighters can be seen fighting a Tesla fire. A woman is heard saying that the firefighters had already dumped 1,500 gallons of water on the car, but the fire just kept burning.

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Patronis pointed out in another tweet that “if an EV catches fire, there’s not a lot fire teams can do. The second you stop dousing an EV with water, it flames up again.”

Last week, Patronis wrote a letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to ask for more information about the risks to EVs from saltwater damage.

“On October 6th, I joined North Collier Fire Rescue to assess response activities related to Hurricane Ian and saw with my own eyes an EV continuously ignite, and continually reignite, as fireteams doused the vehicle with tens-of-thousands of gallons of water,” Patronis wrote.

“Subsequently, I was informed by the fire department that the vehicle, once again reignited when it was loaded onto the tow truck. Based on my conversations with area firefighters, this is not an isolated incident. As you can appreciate, I am very concerned that we may have a ticking time bomb on our hands.”

As Patronis has pointed out, EV fires are notoriously hard to put out due to their lithium-ion batteries. Bloomberg noted that this is one of the major obstacles facing EV adoption.

The technological advancements of electric vehicles are amazing. But there are still a lot of kinks to work out.

“Lithium-ion is a technology that has really been a revolutionary advance for us as a society. … I think there are some surprises about some of the challenges that we are going through,” Haresh Kamath of the Electric Power Research Institute told Bloomberg.

Kamath noted that although battery fires are not frequent, “in rare cases when you have a problem — it’s very dramatic.”

EVs are getting more popular and, one day, maybe they will completely take over the auto industry.

But it’s important to remember that there are still a lot of problems to overcome and technology has to keep advancing to develop safe and effective EVs.

This doesn’t spell doom for the EV industry. It’s simply a serious growing pain.

It’s all part of technological evolution. But in the midst of that evolution, consumers need to be aware of the risks.

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