Seattle Fire Department Provides Additional Details On Chevrolet Volt Fire


Burnt Chevrolet Volt - Image Via Alex Hopmann

Burnt Chevrolet Volt – Image Via Alex Hopmann

A full incident report on the recent Chevrolet Volt fire is forthcoming, but ahead of its release (possibly up to 30 days from the date of the fire – January 23), the Seattle Fire Department responded to our request for additional information.

UPDATE: The case has been reopened as new leads suggest arson may be the cause.  Full details here

Due to the urgent nature of this matter, the Seattle Fire Department released to us some preliminary findings from the fire investigator assigned to the Volt incident.

Details are limited prior to the filing of the complete report, but here’s what we’ve been told:

  • Estimated damages: $50,000
  • Fire classification: Accidental
  • Most likely cause of fire: Mechanical/electrical issue with vehicle

Arson has apparently been ruled out.  Vehicle was parked, not occupied at time of fire.

We have a disclosure request into the Seattle Fire Department for the full report and our request is being expedited via assistance from the department’s public information officer, but until that report is received, this is all of the additional information we have at this time.

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16 Comments on "Seattle Fire Department Provides Additional Details On Chevrolet Volt Fire"

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Did GM send anyone to also investigate?

General Motors has not responded to our request for comment, so we have no idea.

To be fair, I’ve also posted this when Tesla had a couple…

What a great song.

$50k for a max 45k car? They must have included personal items left in the car as well.

All we have is one not-so-detailed photo, but it seems the fire probably originated from the front part of the vehicle? Rear seat headrests seem relatively intact still.

It IS part ICE…

The concern is that the part that isn’t ICE may be the cause. We don’t know if the ICE was even used. We don’t know anything at this point really.

Used ’13 Volts can be had for $25K or less

There could have been smoke damage etc. to other vehicles and the building.

It wouldn’t be that unusual to have a few thousand $ worth of personal items in the car, and part is probably also damage caused to the parking structure.

Actually, I suggest that it is unusual to have that much personal effects in a parked car. Admittedly, people leave their laptops and I-Pads inside their cars, but still… Maybe it is all the years I spent as an insurance adjuster. For many years it seemed as if _every_ car that was stolen reported having an expensive SLR camera, furs and jewelry inside.

In regards to the other property damage, that is totally correct. The car might have caused damage to adjacent buildings or cars. Very common.


I assume GM will investigate. I think once the fire department has determined it was “something to do with the car”, they’d have to leave it up to the manufacturer to investigate further.

The middle armrest is raised. It could have started with an electric seat heater or phone/tablet plugged into the outlet for all we know.

GM should be there now…. not later…

Media focus seems to have moved past EV fires now. That’s so 2013. But I’m glad this information is here and Inside EVs is looking into it to get the facts. Who knows when some other news outlet might pick up on this story and sensationalize it?

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