CALIFORNIA CITY, Calif. (KBAK) – A fire in California was started by a Tesla. Fire and rescue crews were able to quickly extinguish the blaze, but reports show it was not an isolated incident.
The 2019 Tesla Model 3 came to a fiery end, shocking its owner, Ediel Ruiz.
“I honestly didn’t know how to react, I mean it just happened,” he said.
Ruiz and her partner took a trip to California City to visit family last weekend.
When he received a notification on his phone that his car alarm was going off, he was met with smoke when he got out.
Ruiz opened the back door of his car and then encountered flames. He said the first thing to melt down was his 4-month-old’s car seat.
“We had this, the stroller, the formula, she had just graduated from USC the day before,” he said. “All his graduation stuff burned down.”
No one was in the car, but Ruiz said he had plans with his partner to celebrate his graduation.
“We were going to go to Bakersfield to eat at the Texas Roadhouse,” he said. “Luckily for some reason his grandparents canceled and we didn’t go. This did not happen while we were driving.
Ruiz immediately called the California City Fire Department. Roadside crews plan to come and remove the vehicle within a week.
“I tried to convey that the car was completely gone,” Ruiz said. “I don’t think they understood how serious the fire was. So when he showed up he said, “I’m not prepared or equipped to remove this, I can’t drive this on the highway or the ashes will go everywhere.”
California Fire Department PIO David Orr said he doesn’t see many cases like this, but it’s well known that EV fires are difficult to put out.
The department has specific training for their crews to handle these fires.
The Kern County Fire Department also hasn’t seen many cases, but said that may change.
Ruiz is now in a rental after working with Tesla Insurance. He said he won’t be able to get a new vehicle until October.
After the whole incident, he said he was still encouraging people to go electric.
Although not a common occurrence, experts said it usually happens to newer electric vehicles.
It’s not just Tesla vehicles, there have also been reports of Kia and Chevrolet electric models igniting spontaneously.
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