Tesla spontaneously catches fire with no crash

A Tesla Model S being driven by the husband of actor Mary McCormack caught fire on a Los Angeles street last week, Mc...

Posted: Jun 19, 2018 12:10 PM
Updated: Jun 19, 2018 12:10 PM

A Tesla Model S being driven by the husband of actor Mary McCormack caught fire on a Los Angeles street last week, McCormack tweeted Friday night.

She posted a video of the car stopped at the side of the road with flames and smoke coming from underneath it.

"This is what happened to my husband and his car today," she wrote. "No accident, out of the blue, in traffic on Santa Monica Blvd. Thank you to the kind couple who flagged him down and told him to pull over. And thank god my three little girls weren't in the car with him."

Tesla cars, which run on electricity stored in large battery packs in the floor of the vehicle, have been involved in a few recent incidents where the cars have caught fire after high-speed impacts. Gasoline-powered cars also sometimes catch fire even without a collision.

"This is an extraordinarily unusual occurrence," a Tesla spokeswoman said in an email, "and we are investigating the incident to find out what happened. Our initial investigation shows that the cabin of the vehicle was totally unaffected by the fire due to our battery architecture, which is designed to protect the cabin in the very rare event that a battery fire occurs."

Are electric cars more likely to catch fire?

Tesla cars are 10 times less likely to catch fire than gasoline-fueled cars, the automaker said, citing data from the National Fire Protection Association and U.S. Federal Highway Administration. Lithium-ion batteries, like those in Tesla cars, also ignite more slowly and burn in a more controlled way than gasoline.

Battery fires can be harder to put out, though, and require special treatment by fire fighters. Tesla and other electric vehicle manufacturers are training first responders on how to deal with crashes and fires involving electric cars.

The National Transportation Safety Board said it is sending an investigator to observe Tesla's examination of the car.

"The observation will provide the agency with an opportunity to learn more about fires in all types of battery-powered vehicles," the agency said.

The NTSB has investigated other Tesla fires in order to better understand electric vehicle fires and how emergency crews can best handle them.

McCormack tweeted that her husband was unaware of the fire under his car until passing motorists flagged him down. He was then able to pull over, stop the car and get out safely.

Mary McCormack appeared in the TV series West Wing. She also appears in a new ABC comedy series,The Kids are Alright, about an Irish family in the 1970s.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 49575

Reported Deaths: 2739
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11812690
Lake5337247
Elkhart343257
Allen2867133
St. Joseph202569
Cass16439
Hamilton1629101
Hendricks1439100
Johnson1306118
Porter78038
Tippecanoe7439
Clark67144
Madison66864
Vanderburgh6296
LaPorte59727
Bartholomew59245
Howard58258
Kosciusko5654
Marshall5217
Noble49128
LaGrange4829
Jackson4773
Delaware46052
Boone45944
Hancock45736
Shelby43425
Floyd39144
Morgan32831
Monroe31528
Grant30226
Montgomery29720
Henry29316
Dubois2906
Clinton2882
White26810
Decatur25532
Lawrence25125
Dearborn24723
Vigo2408
Warrick23229
Harrison21722
Greene19132
Miami1892
Jennings17912
Putnam1708
DeKalb1634
Scott1628
Daviess15017
Wayne1496
Perry1409
Orange13623
Steuben1332
Franklin1278
Jasper1252
Ripley1247
Wabash1152
Carroll1122
Fayette1037
Gibson1032
Newton9910
Whitley995
Starke963
Huntington822
Randolph804
Wells791
Jefferson782
Fulton731
Jay680
Washington671
Pulaski661
Knox650
Clay644
Rush603
Owen511
Adams491
Posey490
Benton480
Spencer461
Sullivan451
Brown421
Blackford392
Fountain332
Crawford320
Tipton311
Switzerland280
Parke240
Martin220
Ohio210
Vermillion170
Warren151
Union130
Pike110
Unassigned0193

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 61331

Reported Deaths: 3006
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin11122439
Cuyahoga8518383
Hamilton6396206
Lucas2859304
Marion273739
Montgomery228335
Summit2269209
Pickaway220641
Mahoning1885239
Butler172147
Columbiana132460
Stark1171114
Lorain107368
Trumbull101474
Warren91825
Clark78410
Delaware64515
Fairfield61417
Tuscarawas59010
Belmont55822
Lake55122
Medina54832
Licking53612
Miami48631
Portage47759
Wood46151
Ashtabula43844
Clermont4367
Geauga41543
Wayne36752
Richland3595
Allen33841
Greene3009
Mercer29410
Erie26022
Darke25326
Holmes2524
Huron2342
Madison2069
Ottawa16124
Sandusky14215
Washington14220
Crawford1375
Ross1363
Putnam13315
Coshocton1323
Hardin12312
Morrow1201
Auglaize1094
Jefferson952
Muskingum921
Union921
Athens911
Monroe8917
Hancock841
Preble811
Hocking798
Lawrence790
Guernsey763
Shelby724
Williams722
Clinton700
Logan661
Fulton650
Ashland621
Wyandot615
Carroll603
Brown591
Scioto560
Defiance543
Knox531
Fayette510
Highland471
Champaign461
Van Wert430
Perry401
Seneca362
Henry320
Jackson270
Paulding270
Pike270
Adams241
Vinton222
Gallia201
Noble130
Harrison121
Meigs120
Morgan110
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Broken Clouds
77° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 79°
Angola
Overcast
75° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 75°
Huntington
Overcast
77° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 79°
Decatur
Overcast
79° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 81°
Van Wert
Overcast
79° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 81°
Breezy, Sunny Saturday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events