FRANKLIN, Tenn. (WTVF) — Franklin Fire Department authorities said departments across Middle Tennessee are struggling with electric vehicle fires and their car batteries, pointing to an example this week in a parking lot.
Franklin Fire Marshal Andy King said a Nissan Leaf caught fire at the car maker’s headquarters in Cool Springs on Tuesday afternoon. The Leaf was in the fastest charging port, and firefighters had to apply water to the lithium-ion battery for several hours before the cell cooled off completely.
“All fire departments are struggling with lithium-ion battery fires because EVs often cannot be extinguished until the battery cell has released its energy,” King said. “If you think you’re having a problem with your electric vehicle, don’t continue to charge it. 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.”
King said firefighters are accustomed to responding to conventional vehicle fires, which are typically extinguished with one engine and 500-1,000 gallons of water. By contrast, this incident required an estimated 45,000 gallons of water, accessed from a nearby hydrant, and multiple units, including an engine, tower, battalion chief, rescue, hazmat, and an air response vehicle.
No damage was done to Nissan’s headquarters or other vehicles in the lot.