Iowa firefighters express concern over electric vehicle fire risks

More people are switching from the traditional gas-powered cars to electric cars.
Published: Sep. 1, 2022 at 9:30 AM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

NEVADA, Iowa (WOI) - More people are switching from the traditional gas-powered cars to electric cars.

But some firefighters in Iowa said they’re concerned about the risk of fires from the vehicles, because their batteries are extremely high voltage.

Electric vehicles can generate temperatures of nearly 4,900 degrees when they burn, so getting the flames under control is no easy task.

In some cases, batteries can relight hours or days after the initial fire is put out, stretching resources even thinner for fire crews.

It may seem counterintuitive, but firefighters said they’re actually advised not to put the fire out.

“It’s a very difficult problem for us to manage,” Reynolds said. “The guidance from the manufacturers is to use lots of water, and some guidance, if the car isn’t in a space of concern, that we just let these things burn.”

Firefighters said there are two major hazards which can indicate warning signs of an electric vehicle fire.

Those are when a battery is overcharged or when the car is damaged in a crash.

Electric vehicle fires are fairly uncommon overall. The National Transportation Safety Bureau said they are less likely to catch fire than gas or hybrid cars.