Mocobizscene- An electric vehicle in Autauga County crashed and burst into flames on Monday night. The Pine Level Fire Department received a call at approximately 11:15 p.m. regarding a traffic accident involving a vehicle fire.
Upon arrival, firefighters were confronted with a blazing Tesla Model Y. The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency had already taken charge of the situation, ensuring the closure of the interstate.
According to officials, the driver managed to escape the vehicle before the fire department arrived, and fortunately, they were not injured.
The driver involved in the incident has been identified as 33-year-old Michael Sherrill, a resident of Georgia. Authorities have arrested Sherrill and he is currently being held at the Autauga County jail. He is facing charges of driving under the influence of alcohol and his bail has been set at $5,000.
According to firefighters, it took over 36,000 gallons of water and a little over an hour to bring the fire under control due to the thermal runaway of the Tesla’s battery.
According to Pine Level Fire Chief Austin Worcester, extinguishing a car fire usually requires between 300 to 1,000 gallons of water, depending on the vehicle’s level of advancement. In the case of an electric vehicle fire, however, Worcester stated that the additional water needed is a common occurrence.
The volunteer fire department stated that although there is technology available to reduce the amount of water required to extinguish an electric car fire, it is deemed too costly for their budget.
“The Montgomery fire department currently possesses a device that costs approximately $35,000, which accounts for more than one-third of our annual budget. Unfortunately, this expenditure is currently unfeasible for us,” he explained.
Worcester highlighted the potential risks associated with lithium batteries used in these vehicles. He emphasized that these batteries can be easily damaged and, if damaged, can release toxic gases that have the potential to generate acid in the lungs.
“They have the ability to reignite hours, or even days, later. Additionally, the lithium used in these batteries can release harmful gases,” he explained.
The Autauga County Sheriff’s Office, along with multiple fire departments and law enforcement agencies, promptly arrived at the scene in response to the incident.
According to officials, a fire of this nature had never occurred in Autauga County before. However, Worcester expressed his concern about the potential rise in such incidents due to the growing popularity of electric vehicles.
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