Firefighters Versus Fiery Tesla Model S – Video

4 weeks ago by Eric Loveday 35

Model S On Fire

Electric car fires, though rare, do typically require a lot of hands on deck and tons of water to extinguish.

What your’e witnessing above is the aftermath of a crash of a Tesla Model S into a cement barrier. The driver, a 19-year-old Austrian, had ample time to escape from the wreckage before it caught fire.

The video above shows the work of a volunteer firefighting team. After extinguishing the fire, the team, known as Feuerwehr-Landeck, issued a press release. In part, it reads (via Google Translate):

“The fire fighting – which could only be carried out under severe respiratory protection – was difficult because the vehicle was repeatedly on fire. It was only after cutting the power supply from the high-performance batteries that it was possible to finally fight the fire. Since lithium batteries are used, the manufacturer recommends that the vehicle be parked under “quarantine” for 48 hours, so that no new fire can break out.”

The proper method for extinguishing a lithium fire is to use massive amounts of water, followed by more water and then even more water. Once controlled, the next step is to use thermal imaging to see if hot spots still exist. After that, the vehicle should be put under close watch for a time just in case thermal runaway reignites a blaze.

You’ll also see that the firefighters are cutting into the the door jamb on the driver’s side rear door. This is the location for one of the vehicle’s two high-voltage disconnect loops. The main loop is located in the frunk region and is clearly inaccessible after this crash and resulting fire.

All told, the firefighters seemed to know exactly what they were doing and handled the blaze as Tesla tells them to in the vehicles’ emergency responder’s guide.

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35 responses to "Firefighters Versus Fiery Tesla Model S – Video"

  1. Nick says:

    Nice! Looks like the Tesla fire fighters guide is doing its job.

    I’m impressed how well Tesla designed the car and documentation to be friendly to first responders.

  2. bro1999 says:

    Odds the owner blames autopilot for the crash? I say 50/50

    1. Hauer says:

      We are here in Austria, not in the US.

      So nothing to gain by blaming Tesla.

      1. Get Real says:

        That will never stop Madbro from trying to manufacture some of his repetitive FUD.

        1. Hauer says:

          I missed his name.
          Sorry for replying.

      2. unlucky says:

        I’m sure there is an Austrian who would find value in blaming the car simply to deflect from their own failure.

      3. UKeleck says:

        Yes only is US people see liars as the new normal, here in Europe is not that easy,

    2. ffbj says:

      It probably contributed to the accident in that it looks as if roadwork meant that section was blocked off, and the roadblock at high-speed.
      So he probably cruising around 65 missed the info that the lane was closed ahead, auto-pilot missed it too, it was on a sign. Then the guy rams it into obstruction at high speed, turning to the right at the last second, trying to reduce the impact. Probably a hard skidding blow into the angled concrete block at 45+ mph.

      At least that’s the way it looks to me.

  3. Dav8or says:

    I wonder if other BEV manufacturers are sending out this kind of information to fire fighters? Knowing the location of these cut points and how to deal with the batteries after the flames go out seems critical no matter which brand.

    1. Ben says:

      Sure. And if you want to be safe, you leave a copy in reach behind the windshield.

      BMW i3:
      https://aos.bmwgroup.com/web/10181/102

      All others:
      https://www.adac.de/infotestrat/ratgeber-verkehr/sicher-unterwegs/rettungskarte/default.aspx

    2. Mark.ca says:

      They should and they should also hide the disconnects in the same areas so it will be standard across all evs. I looked all around my ev and could not see any stickers or indication of where the cut cable might be.

    3. unlucky says:

      Of course. I believe all makes do this even for ICE cars.

      https://www.gmstc.com/FirstResponder.aspx

  4. jm says:

    Fortunately, it looks like that will all just buff right out.

    1. Mark.ca says:

      I like that smokey gray color on Teslas.

      1. unlucky says:

        It’s great except like 65% of them are that color. The Model 3 I saw today was that color also.

  5. Peter says:

    Statistics say that 90% chance that the 19 year old man was to blame. Difficult when the road suddenly gets narrow and you are driving to fast.

    1. Ben says:

      Thats not, how jurisdiction works. If you dont know it, dont talk about it.

    2. SCOTT says:

      I can’t believe I was given a drivers license at 16. I’m amazed I’m alive, and that was with the unbridled power of a Plymouth Acclaim at my disposal; I’m sure I’d be dead if I had a Tesla at 19.

      1. alohart says:

        I got mine at age 14 in Texas in 1958. Really dumb idea. Lucky to be alive.

        I got a Swedish driver license in 2008. The contrast with the U.S. driver licenses that I have had from 4 states could not be greater. Sweden, and I think northern E.U. countries like Germany, at least, require far more driver knowledge and skill than any U.S. state that I’m familiar with. This contributes to Sweden’s much lower accident rate per person per kilometer driven compared with the U.S. despite Sweden’s much worse driving conditions on average (e.g., driving on snow and ice much of the year).

        1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          When I got my learner’s permit driver’s license at (as I recall) age 16, I was appalled at how easy it was to pass a driver’s test in the State of Kansas.

          I think the standards should be tightened up quite a bit. When autonomous cars become commonplace, hopefully the testing for a (human) driver’s license in the USA will become far more rigorous!

    3. Dav8or says:

      I didn’t think you could legally drive a car in most places in Europe at 19? I thought you had to be 21. I almost got arrested in Italy way back in the day for driving with California license and an “international driver’s license” when I was only 18. The only country that pulled me over though on my tour of the continent.

      1. chmax73 says:

        You can get a driver license in EU with 18, in any country.
        It might be necessary to be at least 21 to rent one, especially if is a high HP car.

  6. James says:

    Cars catch fire or explode after a crash? Thanks to Tesla Hollywood movies finally make sense

    1. Mark.ca says:

      Sometimes they do…didn’t you see the recent story about the guy that left his girl to burn? Last week local LA news showed a car that struck a post and got incinerated. Hell, a gasser burned to the ground on my street last year, overnight, not hit by anything. Let’s not pretend gasoline is not dangerous.

    2. earl colby pottinger says:

      On the other hand, I don’t know how many hollywood movies I watched where once a car goes over a cliff it will explode in mid-air before impact with anything!

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        Yeah, that movie trope is really brain-dead. What, are we supposed to believe the gasoline in the tank “anticipates” the coming crash, and produces the effect before the cause happens?

        Well no, the film maker’s intent (for that type of film) is that we’re not supposed to even think about how believable, or not, an action scene is. 🙁

  7. Djoni says:

    It look like a construction dead end.
    Pretty hard to miss it, but the driver did it.

  8. pjwood1 says:

    If fire ever seems to brew in your Model S, the frunk disconnect loop tag is located at driver’s right, near the firewall (whose other side is the glove box). Plastic cover comes out, revealing loop itself. May be better to pull, then wait for assist?

  9. jakaracman says:

    Shouldn’t be a fire there at all. Car was relativelly undamaged, so no reason for fire. Hope there’s an investigation why.

    1. Hauer says:

      Why?

      If they were investigating all the burned wrecks I see (driving 55.000 km/year) they’d be doing nothing else.
      Insurance will have a look, that’s it.

  10. Rightofthepeople says:

    Eric, sorry to be “that guy” but I need to correct you on one small detail in the first sentence of the story. You refer to the object struck by the Tesla as a “cement” barrier. The proper terminology is a concrete barrier, not a cement barrier. Cement is a dry powder and one of the ingredients in concrete, along with stone, sand, water and typically some chemical admixtures. Think of cement as the flour and concrete as the cake.

    1. unlucky says:

      “Mr. Mob Boss Guy, I want you to know before you drop me over the side that these are concrete boots, not cement boots. You are using entirely the wrong terminology. Think of the cement as the….”

      [plop]

      “If he knew how to keep his mouth shut it wouldn’t have come to this.”

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        They are called “cement overshoes”, not “boots”. If you were a wise guy, you’d know that! 😉

      2. Rightofthepeople says:

        Oh sure, no one minds a semantics snob when it comes to KW vs kWh, but let the conservative correct the author over a building materials term and suddenly everyone is a comedian! 🤡

  11. Some Guy says:

    Some insight what happend there exactly:

    The driver (19 year old girl) was on the left lane on this 2 lane high-speed motorway, quite obviously at high speed.

    There is a construction site close to the tunnel entrance, so there are concrete barriers that guide the traffic from the left lane to merge with the right lane. Lots of signs and reduced speed required for several 100 meters before that site.

    The driver did miss this somehow or ignored it. There was a high speed impact towards the end of a concrete barrier which was in the middle of the road. Purpose of the barriers is to prevent cars to entering the opposing traffic lane and in case of impact guide the impacting car and to decelerate it by friction. Model S being a heavy vehicle and the impact speed very high, first barrier was pushed to the left, thus exposing the front edge of the (up to then perfectly aligned) second barrier. As the car had now momentum to turn right (either by reaction or due to the impact, it caught the edge of the second barrier and forcing the approx. 5 ton concrete wall to turn by more than 90 degree, pushing it into the position visible in the video. The side now facing the car was originally facing the construction side, not the lane into the direction of the tunnel.

    In order to achieve this, the Model S must have been travelling very fast. Those walls are meant to stop vehicles up to fully loaded semis at 60 kph, they do not move easily, even at high speed you have to hit them in exactly the right spot, which that driver apparently managed to do.

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