Fiery Tesla Model X crash in Fremont leaves driver injured

FREMONT, Calif. (KGO) -- The driver of a Tesla Model X SUV survived what appeared to be a high-speed crash this morning in Fremont after smashing head-on into a tree on Paseo Padre Parkway near Thornton Avenue. Fremont Fire Battalion Chief Gary Ashley said the driver was able to free himself from the wreckage. The vehicle caught fire and suffered extensive damage to the front third. No other vehicles were involved.

PHOTOS: Tesla driver survives fiery Model X crash in Fremont
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After you see these photos, you'll be even more amazed that a Tesla driver was able to walk away from a head-on crash into a tree in Fremont.

This happened shortly after 7 a.m. on Monday. Battalion Chief Ashley said it was not immediately known what triggered the fire in the electric vehicle, but first responders instituted tactics to fight a battery fire by pouring 3,000 gallons of water on the white SUV. They also used a thermal imaging camera to detect to monitor whether the batteries might cause a second fire to erupt as has happened in previous Tesla crashes. After more than two hours, fire personnel deemed it was safe to move the wreckage on a flatbed tow truck where the Tesla was isolated and monitored for a second fire at a tow yard.

Tesla issued this statement after ABC7 News contacted the company: "We have been in touch with the local authorities to learn the facts of the incident and offer our full cooperation. The damage sustained by the vehicle is indicative of a very high speed collision, which can result in a fire in any type of car, not just electric vehicles. Despite the significant impact, we understand that the driver sustained only minor injuries and has been taken to the hospital for further evaluation. We are glad that he is safe."

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The Model X is registered to Brian Morton. Tesla would not confirm whether he is a Tesla employee.

This is the second incident involving Tesla in three days to which Fremont firefighters have responded. On Saturday night, a fire erupted in a fenced-in area of Tesla's Fremont auto plant. Battalion Chief Ashley, who also was at that incident, said that it was difficult at first to know what was on fire until Tesla supervisors arrived. The Fremont Fire Department dispatched 25 personnel, including its entire hazard materials unit, to that incident.

When asked for a statement about the Saturday night fire, a Tesla spokesperson would only say it was contained, there were no injuries and there was no impact to production.

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"We were able to determine that some battery modules were involved, not so much a complete pack but modules that were disassembled as I understand it for recycling," said Battalion Chief Ashley. Once that was determined, Ashley said Tesla provided a forklift and bins which they filled with water to submerge the battery components.

David Louie will have more on this developing story on ABC7 News at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.

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