Firefighters spent more than two hours and more than 20,000 gallons of water fighting a Tesla fire after a crash on Interstate 95 in Wakefield Thursday night.
Wakefield fire officials and state police were involved in a crash on the northbound lanes near Exit 59 at 10:47 p.m. according to To the press release from the Wakefield Fire Department.
Emergency responders found a Tesla electric vehicle stuck on the guardrail of the right-hand breakdown lane. When crews tried to clear the car from the driveway, the guardrail pierced the undercarriage, causing the lithium-ion battery to go into thermal runaway, according to the statement. The vehicle was then “fully involved in the fire,” fire officials said.
The 38-year-old driver of the vehicle, who was not in the vehicle when the fire started, refused medical attention, according to officials.
According to the statement, firefighters spent two and a half hours spraying “significant amounts of water on the vehicle” to extinguish the blaze, which eventually totaled more than 20,000 gallons.
Many mutual aid communities in the surrounding area also responded, supported the firefighting operations, and built water shuttle vehicles to continuously transport water to the scene. Engines from Melrose, Stoneham, Reading, Lynnfield and Middleton tankers assisted in the operation.
Firefighters used three hoses and a “lightning gun” to cool the Tesla’s battery compartment, according to officials.
The car was removed from the driveway with a permit from the Fire Department’s Hazardous Materials Team and the Department of Environmental Protection, according to the statement.
The fire caused traffic delays as state troopers directed vehicles into a lane during a winter storm, officials said.
“As sales of electric and hybrid vehicles increase, the Fire Department is continuing to revise our strategies to properly respond, protect property and firefighters, and contain these types of fires,” Interim Fire Chief Tom Purcell said, noting the battle The added challenge of electric vehicle fires.
Purcell said it typically takes longer to contain EV fires and requires large and constant water supplies. Crews must also maintain a high level of situational awareness and be prepared for secondary fires.
“Crews did a great job, especially during the storm – on a busy motorway. All the responding mutuals from surrounding communities have been fantastic and have helped Wakefield Fire Service tremendously in containing the incident,” Purcell said.
newsletter sign up
Stay updated with all the latest news from Boston.com