NORWELL – A car battery malfunction at the Tesla dealership in Norwell on Friday triggered a Hazmat response.
The Massachusetts Association of Hazmat Technicians tweeted at about 11:30 am. Friday that officials were responding to a lithium-ion battery fire.
Norwell firefighters responded to the call at the Norwell Tesla dealership at about 10:30 a.m. They were notified that it was a fire in a car inside the service garage at the dealership.
Damage was limited to the car that was being serviced with possible heat damage to the car next to it. No injuries were reported.
Norwell firefighters consulted with Tesla engineers in Pennsylvania to learn how to safely move the vehicle. Engineers from Philadelphia were dispatched to dismantle the battery system.
Firefighters and Tesla workers pushed the vehicle into the parking lot, where the battery was monitored for temperature fluctuations.
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A state hazmat team determined from testing that there is no hazard to public health. The state Department of Environmental Protection and other agencies were on the scene.
They will require Tesla to have a licensed site professional do more testing to ensure that the runoff from the water used to put out the fire does not present an environmental hazard. Most of the runoff was contained in a large tank on the site.
Tesla fires have been reported across the country this summer. Crews in California in June reported it took 4,500 gallons of water to extinguish a fire that kept reigniting.
According to a Facebook post from the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District, the Tesla had been sitting in a wrecking yard for three weeks while waiting to be dismantled after an accident when it burst into flames.
Teslas have lithium-ion batteries that can present fire and explosion hazards when damaged, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
A driver in Canada reported in March that his new Tesla Model Y ignited after powering down, and the New York Times in June reported that electric vehicles made by Tesla and other manufacturers have sometimes caught fire if their battery packs have been damaged in accidents. The high-voltage fires generate intense heat and can be difficult to put out.
Information from USA Today was used in this report.
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