NTSB urges Tesla, others to do more for 1st responders' safety in report on electric car fires

The lithium-ion battery fires that can happen in electric cars pose a different type of danger to firefighters and other first responders.
SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) says that electric vehicle batteries pose a major risk to first responders in lieu of four electric car battery fires in 2017 and 2018. They are urging automakers like Tesla and others to do more.

You may have previously seen the video from 2020 in Pleasanton. It showed a Tesla vehicle on fire and burning for several hours.

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Now, an NTSB report details four electric vehicle battery fires from 2017 and 2018 and urges automakers to improve electric-vehicle emergency response guides for first responders who end up battling those flames.

"It is concerning moving forward but not in a frightening way," says Lt. Jonathan Baxter of the San Francisco Fire Department.

He says the department has implemented special training that teaches crews about fighting lithium-ion battery fires that can happen in electric cars. Baxter says those from Tesla have worked with their firefighters, and for good reason, as the batteries will sometimes reignite.

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"I mean the batteries continue to generate heat," said one firefighter back in 2018, after it took crews six hours to get one of the battery fires out.

"Some of them will be reactive to water in a very negative way and in some cases the best defense is to wait it out," says Lt. Baxter.

In certain cases, water is sprayed at special angles but the NTSB is still urging auto companies to do more. We did reach out to Tesla to get their take but they did not respond to us.

You can go here to read the full report from the NTSB.
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