Trending Topics

Calif. FD tests EV post-fire isolation

Modesto firefighters are placing electric vehicles in a large dumpster for a cool-down period after the fire


Modesto Fire Department/Facebook

By Trevor Morgan
The Modesto Bee

MODESTO, Calif. — An electric car fire in Modesto on Monday morning resulted in the Fire Department isolating the vehicle away from the city for three weeks, fire officials said.

Firefighters responded to the call at about 8:15 a.m. and found a red Tesla fully engulfed near the intersection of Carver Road and Roseburg Avenue — near homes and businesses, according to an incident summary.

Crews isolated protected the structures as they worked to extinguish to fire, which couldn’t be handled the way a gasoline-fueled vehicle would be, Deputy Chief Darin Jesberg said.

The initial flames were put down by “traditional firefighting methods,” meaning water hoses, Jesberg said. But the vehicle needed to be loaded into a metal bin and taken out of the city to a secure location because electric vehicles can retain their charge for up to three weeks. During that time frame, they still have the potential to reignite, or even explode, he said.

EV’s have the potential to smolder or arc after a fire, according to Jesberg.

The Fire Department doesn’t have set-in-stone procedure on how to handle EV fires, but Jesberg said MFD is working with other fire departments and EV companies, including Tesla , to develop practices.

After the vehicle’s weeks-long cool-down, a tow company takes it away from the secure location to be specially processed for disposal, Jesberg said. “This is a new process for us. We’re discovering case by case on how to handle these fires.”

No injuries were reported as a result of the fire. The City of Modesto Environment Compliance assisted with mitigated water runoff from the scene.

(c)2023 The Modesto Bee (Modesto, Calif.)
Visit The Modesto Bee (Modesto, Calif.) at
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Mundelein firefighters said the fire is most likely caused by the SUV’s catalytic converter and exhaust system igniting the leaves under it
The San Diego Sheriff’s Department flight crew, which teams with a CAL FIRE crew, must undergo several months of intense training
The mayor said the restructuring of the town’s public safety operations is the rationale behind the change
The fire that spread quickly over 8 acres was fed by pallets, cars, construction materials, hand sanitizer and other items being stored under the freeway in an industrial neighborhood