Elon Musk Blames Firefighters for Making Tesla Sedan’s Fire Worse

Talk about passing the buck

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The fire fighters didn’t read the driver’s manual!

In a blog post Friday afternoon, Tesla Motors founder and public genius Elon Musk said a fire that broke out in the company’s heralded new electric car spread because first responders wrongly punctured a hole in a metal firewall.

When the fire department arrived, they observed standard procedure, which was to gain access to the source of the fire by puncturing holes in the top of the battery’s protective metal plate and applying water. For the Model S lithium-ion battery, it was correct to apply water (vs. dry chemical extinguisher), but not to puncture the metal firewall, as the newly created holes allowed the flames to then vent upwards into the front trunk section of the Model S. Nonetheless, a combination of water followed by dry chemical extinguisher quickly brought the fire to an end.

The Tesla Model S sedan ran over a piece of metal on Tuesday that pierced a battery pack in the front of the car, sparking a small fire whose flames were caught on a video posted to YouTube. The driver had time to pull over and get out and the flames never made it into the cabin thanks to another firewall, but the video of the fire was enough to send Tesla stock tumbling.


Musk’s post offers comforting words to current and potential clients and investors—including an email message from the driver of the damaged vehicle, in which he writes that he is “still a big fan of your car.”

“For consumers concerned about fire risk, there should be absolutely zero doubt that it is safer to power a car with a battery than a large tank of highly flammable liquid,” Musk writes.

Read the full post here.