A Rivian vehicle reportedly caught fire inside the company's automotive factory in Normal, Illinois, on Friday night. The situation led to a temporary evacuation of the facility so that local firefighters could put the fire out and get the smoke out of the plant.
According to a press release published by the Normal Fire Department, a Rivian electric vehicle was on fire while it was up on a lift, and the factory's fire suppression sprinkler system was already showering it from above. The crew quickly connected its hoses to the plant's internal "standpipe system," and extinguished the fire.
The press release confirms that the fire occurred at 100 N. Rivian Motorway, the official address for the former Mitsubishi factory, which is now Rivian's first electric vehicle plant. Firefighters were called to the scene at 9:00 PM on Friday, February 4, 2022.
The Pantagraph notes that, according to officials from the Normal Fire Department, the Bloomington Fire Department was also called to help. This was because of the factory's sheer size, and the potential work needed to properly ventilate the facility. Off-duty firefighters were also contacted to ensure that other local fire stations would be ready in the case of other emergencies during the same timeframe.
Thanks to the factory's sprinkler system, the fire wasn't able to spread or damage other vehicles or equipment. Only one Rivian vehicle was damaged, and no one was hurt. However, authorities are currently investigating the cause of the fire. Public Information Officer Matt Swaney shared:
“The sprinkler system did exactly what it was supposed to do – Put water on the fire quickly and prevent it from spreading until the fire department arrived to finish the job. Most importantly, the damage was limited to just the one vehicle, and everyone was able to get out of the building safely.”
The recent fire wasn't the first of its kind at the Rivian factory. Back in October 2021, a small battery fire broke out in an automated battery sub-assembly area (story linked above). It was quickly extinguished, there were no injuries, and damage to the factory was minimal.
Sources: The Pantagraph, Town of Normal