Hazmat Crews Called When Tesla Catches Fire While Being Towed, But That's Not Even the Worst Part


A Tesla burst into flames following a collision in Arizona on Friday but its occupants were able to make it to safety.

Firefighters in Scottsdale, Arizona, put out the blaze before it could cause any substantial damage to any surrounding property.

KSAZ-TV reported the driver of an unknown Tesla model was attempting to park when the car suddenly moved forward and crashed into a building.

A witness jumped to action to help a mother and daughter out of the car.

“I helped the mom take her daughter out of the driver’s seat,” the person told KSAZ-TV. “She was bleeding quite a bit, but we moved her to the ground, and called 911 right away.”

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“The car was on fire underneath the tires, so it went up in flames about 30 seconds after the crash,” the person added.

No one was seriously injured in the collision, of which the cause is still unknown. The vehicle was towed away from the scene of the initial fire when disaster struck again.

The car caught fire a second time.

Hazmat crews were dispatched to the middle of a roadway to extinguish the blaze. They were joined by a dozen fire engines.

The driver of the tow truck was taken to a local hospital for an evaluation.

An official with the fire department commented on how challenging it can be to put out such a fire.

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“There are certain portions of electric vehicles [that] once they catch on fire, they’re very difficult to put out and take copious amounts of water,” the official said. “We are putting as much water on it as we can, and mitigating the hazard to the surrounding area.”

The news is the latest headache for electric vehicles, which are starting to get a reputation for being expensive fire hazards.

That’s not to say traditional vehicles never go up in a blaze. According to Autoweek, vehicles with the classic internal combustion engine actually catch fire at a much higher rate than EVs.

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The problem is, once the lithium-ion batteries used in electric cars such as Teslas begin to burn, they require an alarming amount of resources to put out.

Citing accident data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics and the National Transportation Safety Board, the publication compiled which types of vehicles experience the most fires.

Hybrids saw 3,474.5 fires per 100,000 units sold.

Traditional gas-powered vehicles burned at a rate of 1,529.9 fires per 100,000 on the road.

Electrical vehicles burned at a rate of 25.1 fires per 100,000.

While much less likely to catch fire than hybrids and traditional cars, the resources to safely put it out are almost incomprehensible.

For example, a Tesla Model S burst into flames on a California highway last month. It took Sacramento firefighters 6,000 gallons of water to stop the blaze.

Another one caught fire in Connecticut last year and required 25,000 gallons to extinguish.

One of these cars actually burst into flames in the dead of night in the garage of a home in Missouri just after Christmas last year. The fire spread and the house was soon engulfed in flames.

Americans are being encouraged to buy electric vehicles and there is no doubt we will see more of them on the road in the coming years.

Until their battery technology is stable enough to prevent them from spontaneously combusting, it would be wise for people who own them to create a fire safety plan.

Tesla owners should consider parking their cars outdoors, or at the very least, make their smoke detectors are in working order.

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Johnathan Jones has worked as a reporter, an editor, and producer in radio, television and digital media.
Johnathan "Kipp" Jones has worked as an editor and producer in radio and television. He is a proud husband and father.