Fire departments train to handle electric vehicle fires

Published: Mar. 18, 2022 at 6:07 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS (KMOV) - Fire crews responded to a car engulfed in flames on Interstate 44 Thursday morning. It’s a common emergency for first responders but it becomes a much more difficult challenge when that vehicle is electric.

“It can make the job fairly difficult,” said Deputy Chief William Stamberger with Eureka Fire.

As more drivers turn to electric vehicles, more fire departments are working to prepare for emergencies involving these cars and trucks.

“Some of the Teslas and some of the other hybrid, electric vehicles can use in the range of 20,000-30,000 gallons of water, taking about an hour to extinguish,” explained Stamberger.

That compares to around 1,000 gallons of water for a gas powered car.

Fire crews say putting out vehicle fires is a key part of training and many are using online resources, but not everyone has had the hands on training.

Stamberger says its key to understand the challenges and the extra resources needed.

“You have to monitor that vehicle as it goes onto a tow truck and you might even have to follow that truck to the tow yard because it can reignite after that. 22 hours after they’ve been extinguished they’ve been known to re-ignite, so that’s a big deal,” said Stamberger.

The vast majority of car fires are gas-powered vehicles according to the National Fire Prevention Association, but crews have to prepare for both types of vehicle fires.