Innovation Unveiled: Firefighters Introduce Specialized Blanket to Tackle Electric Car Fires
With EVs becoming more common on the roads, they present a new obstacle for firefighters. Because they are powered by large lithium-ion batteries, electric car fires take more time to permanently extinguish. Due to the size and location of the batteries, as well as the large amounts of chemical energy they carry, an EV fire can take hours to put out.
That was until the South Metro Fire Rescue Centennial in Colorado stepped in after receiving a call about an electric 2019 Jaguar I-Pace that caught fire mid-charge in the garage at a private residence. Once firefighters were able to clear the home of any residents. While they were able to keep the fire controlled, firefighters determined that the lithium-ion battery pack inside the car was still burning.
Electric Car Fires vs Blankets
Due to the contents of the batteries, the Hazardous Materials Team responded to mitigate the burning EV with a fire blanket specifically made to handle electric car fires by cutting off the supply of oxygen to the car’s batteries.
While these blankets do help make it safer for firefighters to take on electric car fires, that doesn’t mean that the danger has been removed from the scene. After applying the blanket, firefighters loaded the Jaguar onto a car hauler, with the blanket still smothering it, and delivered it to a junkyard. With the vehicle relocated away from the residential neighborhood, the heat was allowed to dissipate and the fire would eventually burn itself out.
Electric car fire blankets usually weigh about 62 lbs and can cost departments between $3,000 and $5,000. But they are much more effective than simply spraying EVs down with water. According to the SFMR, treating electric car fires with water is much more time-consuming, a waste of resources, and the runoff water can potentially be hazardous.
Thankfully in this situation, the fire blanket proved itself useful, and nobody was injured as a result. While it is unknown as to how the fire started, certain Jaguar I-Paces have received a second recall over the threat of battery fires, even if they went in for repairs from the first recall.