100 Firefighters Battled an EV Inferno at GM’s Detroit Plant for 7 Hours
EV fires are a new hazard that firefighters are learning how to deal with. But unlike regular gas-powered vehicles, electric vehicle fires present more unique obstacles, often taking hours to put out. Once the large batteries ignite, the chemicals contained will self-fuel a blaze that will last a very long time before it can be extinguished.
That was the case when nearly 100 firefighters and two dozen fire trucks were called to GM’s EV Factory Zero factory in Detroit, MI in which a fire broke out inside the facility.
According to the automaker, the fire was likely caused by a forklift accidentally piercing a battery materials container, resulting in $1 million worth of damage and an additional $300,000 of property damage.
Firefighters vs EV Fires
Dennis Hunter, the chief of fire prevention for the Detroit Fire Department said that they have had to respond to “eight or so” incidents at the Factory Zero plant in the last year, noting that they are in communication with the automaker on more efficient ways to respond to these emergencies.
“EV batteries, that’s a new hazard that we’re dealing with as a country right now,” says Hunter. “We’re currently working hand in hand with Factory Zero for a better response plan. We are working with them to improve how they handle these EV batteries going into thermal runoff or catching fire. It is a drain on our resources if we have four, eight, or 12 fire apparatuses at their location, depending on the size of the fire, which is why we are working with them to have a better internal protocol for handling these electric vehicle batteries.”