Scio Township firefighters needed to remove a Tesla EV from a garage in order to fight a fire


A look at the fire in Loch Alpine on Jan. 3. The photo was taken by another resident in the neighborhood.

The Scio Township Fire Department with some help from neighboring departments took on a garage fire that was made even more challenging because inside it was a Tesla EV.

The fire happened on Jan. 3, in the Loch Alpine neighborhood. The Sun Times News followed up with Scio Township Fiore Chief Andrew Houde later that day.

“We responded about 11:30 (a.m.) to a report of a garage on fire on Prospect Court in the Loch Alpine sub off of Huron River Drive,” Chief Houde said. “We responded initially along with Dexter, as we always do in that area. Scio was already on a call, so our engines response was delayed.”

When they arrived at the scene, Houde said the garage of the home was well involved and reports were that a Tesla EV was in the garage, “which complicated the incident.”

He said as crews continued to arrive, they were able to darken down the garage fire and enter the home and deal with the fire that was in the attic.

“The homeowner was home at the time of the fire and noticed it quickly,” Houde said. “He had just completed charging the Tesla, which was in the garage, and had begun charging the hybrid vehicle that was outside the garage when he noticed smoke. His initial observation was that the fire started in the garage rather than outside. We are still investigating the fire and do not know where it originated or how it started.”

Houde said part of the issue with EVs, and something Scio has been planning for, “is that the batteries do not respond well to water as an extinguishing agent.”

“They continue to burn as they are well protected and ‘runaway’ when exposed to fire,” Houde said. “Our strategy was to remove the EV from the garage and then address the remaining garage fire, which worked in this case. After we got the car out of the garage, we were able to complete extinguishing the home. Unfortunately that took almost 40 minutes before we had that done.”

According to Houde, both the vehicle in the garage and the one charging outside the garage were total losses while the home also sustained significant damage. There were no injuries to the firefighters or the homeowners.

Scio was assisted at the scene by Dexter, Ann Arbor City, Ann Arbor Township, and Chelsea fire departments.

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