Self-Driving EV Catches on Fire, May Take Weeks to Put Out - Look What Firefighters Had to Put It In


A self-driving electric car caught fire at a warehouse in Phoenix earlier this week and firefighters suspect it might not be fully extinguished for weeks.

KSAZ-TV reported a Waymo self-driving electric car burst into flames on Tuesday morning inside a building located near the interaction of Third Street and Buckey Road.

The building’s sprinkler system has been credited with preventing the fire from spreading to other cars in the fleet.

Electric vehicle fires are notoriously challenging to put out and the one that caught fire Tuesday was no exception.

According to KSAZ-TV, more than 50 firefighters descended upon the warehouse to tackle the fire – which was still smoldering as of Thursday.

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No one was injured in the fire.

First responders from both the Phoenix and Tempe fire departments worked to get the blaze under control.

The Fox affiliate reported the car blaze is being kept under control by sand and water and firefighters do not expect it will fully burn itself out for up to three weeks.

The vehicle is also sitting in what was described as a dumpster to isolate it.

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Phoenix Fire Department Capt. Todd Keller told the outlet the batteries used in such cars — which are lithium-ion — can reach extreme heat in a matter of a fraction of a second.

“These cells in a 10th of a second can heat up to 1,200 degrees, that’s why it makes it so difficult to extinguish these fires,” Keller said.

He added firefighters are always working to find new methods to get such blazes under control.

“We may have not fought an EV fire the way we did a year ago, but we’re always advancing our technology on how to extinguish these,” he said. “You have to cool them down.”

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During EV blazes, firefighters often run out of water.

WJAC-TV in Pennsylvania reported a recent Tesla fire in Clearfield County took 12,000 gallons of water to extinguish.

The blaze took two hours to get under control as fire crews kept running out of water.

Officials in the area have been undergoing special training regarding putting out EV fires — including what to do with cars once the flames have been put out.

Some burning EVs that have been put out have reignited hours later, meaning finding somewhere to store them has to be taken into account.

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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.