Firefighters say electric vehicle fires can be difficult to extinguish
Jul 31, 2023, 4:30 PM
(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)
SALT LAKE CITY — Following a crash involving a Tesla that left three people dead, first responders say electric vehicle fires are often more difficult to extinguish than other fires.
The Salt Lake City Fire Department says if you see what you think is a fire involving an electric vehicle, be sure to include that detail when talking to dispatch.
Firefighters say combating EV fires are hard to deal with for a variety of reasons. The batteries used to power the cars can sometimes break apart on impact, scattering hazardous materials that can easily catch on fire. They can also re-ignite even after the car has been extinguished. Re-ignited batteries can burn at temperatures ranging from 2,000 to 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
Because of their unique metal components and wiring, firefighters go through specific training on how to deal with EV fires.
Captain Shaun Mumedy with the Salt Lake City Fire Department says its firefighter’s training usually relies on guides from Electric Vehicle manufacturers.
“It’s very rare that we can kind of just take a Tesla or any EV and just say ‘ok lets light it on fire,” he says.
Mumedy says if you think an electric vehicle is on fire, be sure to explain the type of car to dispatch as it helps the firefighters prepare.
Devin Oldroyd contributed to this story.