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Northern California firefighters used 4,500 gallons of water to put out a fire in a Tesla Model S that spontaneously burst into flames and continued to reignite at a junkyard earlier this month, the Sacramento Fire District said.
The electric car had suffered extensive damage in an accident three weeks earlier and was scheduled to be dismantled when it caught fire.
“The vehicle was fully involved with the fire on arrival and took a significant amount of time, water and outside-the-box thinking to extinguish,” the department said, noting that it was Tesla’s first subway fire.
“The crews put out the fire, but the car continued to ignite again and release gas into the battery compartment. Working with demolition yard personnel on site, the Tesla was moved on its side to gain access to the battery compartment underneath.”
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The department said that even with direct penetration, the car kept restarting because of residual heat. Rescuers eventually had to drill a small hole, put the car inside and fill it with about 4,500 gallons of water.
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“The well ended up reducing the total amount of water needed,” the department said, “and limited the runoff of contaminated water.”
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No injuries were reported.
Teslas and other electric vehicles are known to have problems with fires. It can be difficult to put out the flames because the vehicles’ lithium-ion batteries keep burning until all the energy is released. It can take up to 24 hours to get out, according to a guide for Tesla Model S first responders.
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CEO Elon Musk admitted last year that there were “more challenges than expected” in developing the new Model S and X battery. he said at the time, according to CNBC.
Tesla did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.