FRANKLIN, Tenn. (WKRN) — An electrical vehicle fire at Nissan Headquarters Tuesday afternoon required several more hours and 45 times more gallons of water to put out than a conventional vehicle fire.
It’s a challenge the Franklin Fire Department warns “all fire departments are struggling with” because lithium-ion battery fires often cannot be extinguished until the battery cell has released its energy.
Firefighters were dispatched around 4:42 p.m. after the car caught fire in the parking lot of 1 Nissan Way. According to Franklin Fire Marshal Andy King, the vehicle, a Nissan Leaf, had been charging on a Level 3 charger, which is the fastest charging device.
That’s when its lithium-ion battery cell reportedly overheated, went into a thermal runway condition and caught fire. He said firefighters applied water to cool the battery cell for several hours before the fire was extinguished.
No damage occurred to the charger or other vehicles. According to King, firefighters are accustomed to responding to conventional vehicle fires, which are typically put out with one fire engine and anywhere from 500 to 1,000 gallons of water.
However, Tuesday’s fire required nearly 45,000 gallons of water and multiple units, including an engine, tower, battalion chief, rescue, hazmat, and an air response vehicle. In a news release, the fire department urged EV owners to take precautions against fires.
“If you think you’re having a problem with your electric vehicle, don’t continue to charge it,” King said. “Move it outside to a safe place away from buildings and other vehicles. If it’s heating up or off-gassing – call the fire department immediately and if safe, try to move it to a safe area.”