Tesla Fire Safety

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MarkerFM
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Tesla Fire Safety

Post by MarkerFM »

We live most of the year in a condo community with buildings having a ground garage level with three floors of condos on top. The garage level has individual garages and 12 inches of poured concrete between the garage level and the first occupied level. The building is sprinklered, including the garages. A few owners have Teslas and more are starting to buy them or move in with one.

My question is this. Given the intensity of a lithium battery fire, and the difficulty in putting them out, has anyone here ever run into a recommendation that the sprinkler system be upgraded to handle a potential fire? I'm not looking for a debate about whether electric cars are more prone to catch on fire while parked and charging than gasoline cars are while parked. Don't comment on that here.

I ask because I once owned a company that stored large amounts of plastics and our insurance company recommended that we increase the capacity of the sprinkler system in that area because plastic fires burn hot and are difficult to extinguish.
wrongfunds
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Re: Tesla Fire Safety

Post by wrongfunds »

I have got similar problems. There is almost 20 gallon of VERY HIGH EXPLOSIVES in my garage. I am always worried. Sometimes I have over 40 gallons of that material which has the ability to take my house down.

Do you know what I am talking about?

P.S. I presume Tesla stock price did not have any factor on opening this topic, right?
MotoTrojan
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Re: Tesla Fire Safety

Post by MotoTrojan »

wrongfunds wrote: Thu Jan 30, 2020 1:35 pm I have got similar problems. There is almost 20 gallon of VERY HIGH EXPLOSIVES in my garage. I am always worried. Sometimes I have over 40 gallons of that material which has the ability to take my house down.

Do you know what I am talking about?

P.S. I presume Tesla stock price did not have any factor on opening this topic, right?
Potassium nitrate.
wrongfunds
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Re: Tesla Fire Safety

Post by wrongfunds »

MotoTrojan wrote: Thu Jan 30, 2020 1:49 pm
wrongfunds wrote: Thu Jan 30, 2020 1:35 pm I have got similar problems. There is almost 20 gallon of VERY HIGH EXPLOSIVES in my garage. I am always worried. Sometimes I have over 40 gallons of that material which has the ability to take my house down.

Do you know what I am talking about?

P.S. I presume Tesla stock price did not have any factor on opening this topic, right?
Potassium nitrate.
They sell that in gallons? :-)
MotoTrojan
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Re: Tesla Fire Safety

Post by MotoTrojan »

wrongfunds wrote: Thu Jan 30, 2020 1:53 pm
MotoTrojan wrote: Thu Jan 30, 2020 1:49 pm
wrongfunds wrote: Thu Jan 30, 2020 1:35 pm I have got similar problems. There is almost 20 gallon of VERY HIGH EXPLOSIVES in my garage. I am always worried. Sometimes I have over 40 gallons of that material which has the ability to take my house down.

Do you know what I am talking about?

P.S. I presume Tesla stock price did not have any factor on opening this topic, right?
Potassium nitrate.
They sell that in gallons? :-)
Touche.
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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Tesla Fire Safety

Post by TomatoTomahto »

OP, I have not heard any recommendations on sprinklers from anyone based on Teslas being parked in the garage. A related question was raised on a Tesla forum https://teslamotorsclub.com/tmc/threads ... ge.165360/.

My insurance company, which is paranoid to the nth degree (Chubb) and has required automated water turnoff in order to continue insuring me, insists on CO detectors even though we have no combustion in the house (we do have a fireplace though), and once suggested that I put up a security fence during renovations (would have covered around 3 acres and would have had automatic security lights :oops: ), has not mentioned putting in sprinklers.

ETA: I own a Tesla, but it is parked in a detached garage, alongside my wife's explosion-waiting-to-happen ICE vehicle. :D
Okay, I get it; I won't be political or controversial. The Earth is flat.
wrongfunds
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Re: Tesla Fire Safety

Post by wrongfunds »

And what about the unintended acceleration problem? Isn't that a safety hazard too? I don't want my Tesla to crash through the garage and land in my living room *AND* then catching fire? Especially that Model 3 Performance because it will take few milliseconds to do that.

Is anybody looking in to that possibility?
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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Tesla Fire Safety

Post by TomatoTomahto »

wrongfunds wrote: Thu Jan 30, 2020 1:35 pm P.S. I presume Tesla stock price did not have any factor on opening this topic, right?
Speaking of which, is anyone in touch with DanMahowny? Aside from our marked difference of opinion about Tesla, I really liked him. When I try to PM him, I get the error "Some users couldn’t be added as they do not have permission to read private messages," which leads me to believe that he is not a current member although his past posts are still available.

He had a self-described "massive short" on TSLA since January 2018, and I can only hope that he got out without grievous harm. As a cautionary tale, I think it's worthwhile to consider that one should curb one's enthusiasm for or against individual companies, as the future can sometimes be very different to one's expectations. I once believed as strongly in DEC as Dan did against TSLA.

Dan, if you're reading this, please drop me a line and I hope you're well.
Okay, I get it; I won't be political or controversial. The Earth is flat.
barnaclebob
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Re: Tesla Fire Safety

Post by barnaclebob »

wrongfunds wrote: Thu Jan 30, 2020 1:35 pm I have got similar problems. There is almost 20 gallon of VERY HIGH EXPLOSIVES in my garage. I am always worried. Sometimes I have over 40 gallons of that material which has the ability to take my house down.

Do you know what I am talking about?

P.S. I presume Tesla stock price did not have any factor on opening this topic, right?
Gasoline is not a high explosive. Neither is propane.
wrongfunds
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Re: Tesla Fire Safety

Post by wrongfunds »

barnaclebob wrote: Thu Jan 30, 2020 2:18 pm
wrongfunds wrote: Thu Jan 30, 2020 1:35 pm I have got similar problems. There is almost 20 gallon of VERY HIGH EXPLOSIVES in my garage. I am always worried. Sometimes I have over 40 gallons of that material which has the ability to take my house down.

Do you know what I am talking about?

P.S. I presume Tesla stock price did not have any factor on opening this topic, right?
Gasoline is not a high explosive. Neither is propane.
I think Andover, MA should change your opinion. Google it. Now to be 100% accurate, it was NOT propane but rather natural gas but that is just a minor quibble.
ohai
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Re: Tesla Fire Safety

Post by ohai »

I wouldn't be that dismissive of OP's question, since some lithium ion battery devices have been prone to spontaneous combustion. These haven't been electric cars so far, but who is to say that some future battery powered vehicle might not have a similar issue one day?

There's also the matter of those cars catching fire if the building was burning for another reason. Do battery fires require different sprinkler systems? I don't know - maybe. Again, not an unreasonable question.
Last edited by ohai on Thu Jan 30, 2020 2:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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4nursebee
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Re: Tesla Fire Safety

Post by 4nursebee »

TomatoTomahto wrote: Thu Jan 30, 2020 2:12 pm
wrongfunds wrote: Thu Jan 30, 2020 1:35 pm P.S. I presume Tesla stock price did not have any factor on opening this topic, right?
Speaking of which, is anyone in touch with DanMahowny? Aside from our marked difference of opinion about Tesla, I really liked him. When I try to PM him, I get the error "Some users couldn’t be added as they do not have permission to read private messages," which leads me to believe that he is not a current member although his past posts are still available.

He had a self-described "massive short" on TSLA since January 2018, and I can only hope that he got out without grievous harm. As a cautionary tale, I think it's worthwhile to consider that one should curb one's enthusiasm for or against individual companies, as the future can sometimes be very different to one's expectations. I once believed as strongly in DEC as Dan did against TSLA.

Dan, if you're reading this, please drop me a line and I hope you're well.
Yeah dan, drop me a line also. Tried to reach out also, found it strange to find your profile blocked private messages. I do not like the anonymity of the internet from so many. On the one hand one ought to be able to discuss finances without neighbors knowing your business, but the firewalls people build up around themselves are strange. I found the inability to contact the grim reaper odd.

I have never run into such a recommendation. My guess is that neither have any of the parking garages with charging stations...

One can't talk about the merits of such ideas without talking about electric cars being more or less prone to catch fire as that is the data that leads to better or worse insurance.
Pale Blue Dot
barnaclebob
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Re: Tesla Fire Safety

Post by barnaclebob »

wrongfunds wrote: Thu Jan 30, 2020 2:22 pm
barnaclebob wrote: Thu Jan 30, 2020 2:18 pm
wrongfunds wrote: Thu Jan 30, 2020 1:35 pm I have got similar problems. There is almost 20 gallon of VERY HIGH EXPLOSIVES in my garage. I am always worried. Sometimes I have over 40 gallons of that material which has the ability to take my house down.

Do you know what I am talking about?

P.S. I presume Tesla stock price did not have any factor on opening this topic, right?
Gasoline is not a high explosive. Neither is propane.
I think Andover, MA should change your opinion. Google it. Now to be 100% accurate, it was NOT propane but rather natural gas but that is just a minor quibble.
Nope, natural gas isnt either, not even gun powder. High explosive applies to chemicals which have all the energy within themselves to produce the explosion. Gasoline, propane, natural gas rely on being contained and/or having the right mixture of oxygen so they can burn rapidly and expand. C4, tnt, nitro gycerine, and amonimum nitrate mixed with gas (the oklahoma city bomb) are high explosives. You probably dont have any of that on your property.
fareastwarriors
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Re: Tesla Fire Safety

Post by fareastwarriors »

Talk to the HOA. I'm sure the HOA's insurance is interested in any potential fires and how to best abate them.
wrongfunds
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Re: Tesla Fire Safety

Post by wrongfunds »

I think neither is Tesla lithium battery.

Anybody who thinks they have to worry about Tesla fire and NOT about Lexus fire is either just unaware of how many regular car fires happen in a year in USA or has a different motive than safety concern.
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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Tesla Fire Safety

Post by TomatoTomahto »

barnaclebob wrote: Thu Jan 30, 2020 2:27 pm
wrongfunds wrote: Thu Jan 30, 2020 2:22 pm
barnaclebob wrote: Thu Jan 30, 2020 2:18 pm
wrongfunds wrote: Thu Jan 30, 2020 1:35 pm I have got similar problems. There is almost 20 gallon of VERY HIGH EXPLOSIVES in my garage. I am always worried. Sometimes I have over 40 gallons of that material which has the ability to take my house down.

Do you know what I am talking about?

P.S. I presume Tesla stock price did not have any factor on opening this topic, right?
Gasoline is not a high explosive. Neither is propane.
I think Andover, MA should change your opinion. Google it. Now to be 100% accurate, it was NOT propane but rather natural gas but that is just a minor quibble.
Nope, natural gas isnt either, not even gun powder. High explosive applies to chemicals which have all the energy within themselves to produce the explosion. Gasoline, propane, natural gas rely on being contained and/or having the right mixture of oxygen so they can burn rapidly and expand. C4, tnt, nitro gycerine, and amonimum nitrate mixed with gas (the oklahoma city bomb) are high explosives. You probably dont have any of that on your property.
Barnaclebob, you know chemistry better than I do, but living near the explosions in MA that miraculously only caused one fatality was pretty intense. For what its worth, whether it's technically explosive or non-explosive, I replaced my leaking propane cooktop with an induction cooktop.
Okay, I get it; I won't be political or controversial. The Earth is flat.
brianH
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Re: Tesla Fire Safety

Post by brianH »

Propane is typically worse than natural gas, because it is heavier than air and can accumulate in low areas until it reaches a concentration high enough to explode (burn rapidly in oxygen)

Lithium batteries actually don't need to burn in the traditional sense, as they can go through thermal runaway without any oxygen to burn in. There are plenty of youtube videos of batteries intentionally damaged to cause this. Besides the intense heat, the burning of the electrolyte is a concern due to small amounts of hydrogen fluoride being produced.

If your Tesla starts pouring out smoke, hold your breath.
btenny
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Re: Tesla Fire Safety

Post by btenny »

I think propane is a extremely dangerous explosive material. It may not fit the exact definition but it is a very dangerous material. In Kingman, Arizona in 1973 twelve people (mostly first responders) were killed and over 100 other people were injured by a propane explosion and fire at a propane depot. See below.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kingman_explosion

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=abQ9ZjgrK0E
Topic Author
MarkerFM
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Re: Tesla Fire Safety

Post by MarkerFM »

wrongfunds wrote: Thu Jan 30, 2020 1:35 pm I have got similar problems. There is almost 20 gallon of VERY HIGH EXPLOSIVES in my garage. I am always worried. Sometimes I have over 40 gallons of that material which has the ability to take my house down.

Do you know what I am talking about?

P.S. I presume Tesla stock price did not have any factor on opening this topic, right?
"I'm not looking for a debate about whether electric cars are more prone to catch on fire while parked and charging than gasoline cars are while parked. Don't comment on that here."
ScubaHogg
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Re: Tesla Fire Safety

Post by ScubaHogg »

wrongfunds wrote: Thu Jan 30, 2020 1:35 pm I have got similar problems. There is almost 20 gallon of VERY HIGH EXPLOSIVES in my garage. I am always worried. Sometimes I have over 40 gallons of that material which has the ability to take my house down.

Do you know what I am talking about?

P.S. I presume Tesla stock price did not have any factor on opening this topic, right?
Gasoline doesn’t have much of a tendency to spontaneously erupt into flames. It’s a real danger with Lithium batteries.
“Unexpected Returns dominate the Expected Returns” - Ken French
TLC1957
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Location: Pa

Re: Tesla Fire Safety

Post by TLC1957 »

MarkerFM wrote: Thu Jan 30, 2020 12:47 pm We live most of the year in a condo community with buildings having a ground garage level with three floors of condos on top. The garage level has individual garages and 12 inches of poured concrete between the garage level and the first occupied level. The building is sprinklered, including the garages. A few owners have Teslas and more are starting to buy them or move in with one.

My question is this. Given the intensity of a lithium battery fire, and the difficulty in putting them out, has anyone here ever run into a recommendation that the sprinkler system be upgraded to handle a potential fire? I'm not looking for a debate about whether electric cars are more prone to catch on fire while parked and charging than gasoline cars are while parked. Don't comment on that here.

I ask because I once owned a company that stored large amounts of plastics and our insurance company recommended that we increase the capacity of the sprinkler system in that area because plastic fires burn hot and are difficult to extinguish.

Currently NFPA does not have any automatic fire sprinkler system criteria for lithium batteries. They have been working on the development of sprinkler system criteria for about 5 years. The biggest concern is the warehouse of the batteries.

In a parking garage the sprinkler system (as well as most occupancies) are designed to control the fire and keep it from spreading. The fire department does the final extinguishment of the fire. So if the garage has a sprinkler system, is inspected by a licensed sprinkler contractor and all sprinkler control valves are open the sprinkler system should control the fire.

I worked on the insurance side as a loss prevention engineer for 36 years before retirement a few years ago. I spent my days reviewing sprinkler systems to determine if they were adequate and our underwriters could provide sprinkler system credit and lower premiums. I made a ton of recommendations over the years to upgrade sprinkler systems in warehouses particularly plastic warehouses!! About 50% of the warehouses we visited the sprinkler system was not adequate to control a fire.

Hope this helps...
Topic Author
MarkerFM
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Re: Tesla Fire Safety

Post by MarkerFM »

TLC1957 wrote: Thu Jan 30, 2020 5:46 pm
MarkerFM wrote: Thu Jan 30, 2020 12:47 pm We live most of the year in a condo community with buildings having a ground garage level with three floors of condos on top. The garage level has individual garages and 12 inches of poured concrete between the garage level and the first occupied level. The building is sprinklered, including the garages. A few owners have Teslas and more are starting to buy them or move in with one.

My question is this. Given the intensity of a lithium battery fire, and the difficulty in putting them out, has anyone here ever run into a recommendation that the sprinkler system be upgraded to handle a potential fire? I'm not looking for a debate about whether electric cars are more prone to catch on fire while parked and charging than gasoline cars are while parked. Don't comment on that here.

I ask because I once owned a company that stored large amounts of plastics and our insurance company recommended that we increase the capacity of the sprinkler system in that area because plastic fires burn hot and are difficult to extinguish.

Currently NFPA does not have any automatic fire sprinkler system criteria for lithium batteries. They have been working on the development of sprinkler system criteria for about 5 years. The biggest concern is the warehouse of the batteries.

In a parking garage the sprinkler system (as well as most occupancies) are designed to control the fire and keep it from spreading. The fire department does the final extinguishment of the fire. So if the garage has a sprinkler system, is inspected by a licensed sprinkler contractor and all sprinkler control valves are open the sprinkler system should control the fire.

I worked on the insurance side as a loss prevention engineer for 36 years before retirement a few years ago. I spent my days reviewing sprinkler systems to determine if they were adequate and our underwriters could provide sprinkler system credit and lower premiums. I made a ton of recommendations over the years to upgrade sprinkler systems in warehouses particularly plastic warehouses!! About 50% of the warehouses we visited the sprinkler system was not adequate to control a fire.

Hope this helps...
This helps immensely, thank you. It does sound like there might be the possibility that future changes might require upgrading. We are trying to develop an electric vehicle policy regarding changes to building elements (common or individually owned), use of common resources (electricity), etc. Not so much an issue with one car in a building, but definitely an issue with 12.

We don't want to discourage electric vehicle owners (like we do with motorcycles, motor homes, and pickups, which are prohibited). Nor do we want to encourage them to the point that condo owners who don't own electric cars are subsidizing those who do.
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Watty
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Re: Tesla Fire Safety

Post by Watty »

MarkerFM wrote: Thu Jan 30, 2020 12:47 pm Given the intensity of a lithium battery fire, and the difficulty in putting them out, has anyone here ever run into a recommendation that the sprinkler system be upgraded to handle a potential fire?
If I am not mistaken putting more(or any) water on a lithium fire would just make things worse.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vRKK6pliejs
Chris001122
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Re: Tesla Fire Safety

Post by Chris001122 »

When they do catch fire, the Tesla cars are extremely hard to "put out". Fire departments may catch on to this and have to charge owners an extra fee just to own them. Firemen may have to develop new ways to extinguish fires with Tesla cars. Go to YouTube and search "Tesla fires" to see what I am talking about.

I don't think the fires are statistically more likely to happen with a Tesla, but there is an element of "might happen even if you don't get into a wreck" that bothers me. That is, there are incidents of the cars catching fire just sitting in a parking garage. While it is possible those involved sabotage, it's not clear that they did involve sabotage or user negligence.

Any attempt to bring attention to this will probably be met with "oh, you're just a climate denier" or "oh, you are jealous of my success (or my superior environmental spirit)". These thing's day are coming. I could go on, but I need to go to work. My Delorian is idling in the driveway.

Image
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TLC1957
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Re: Tesla Fire Safety

Post by TLC1957 »

Chris you said

Fire departments may catch on to this and have to charge owners an extra fee just to own them.

Does your FD charge to put out fires in your home, auto? Please let me know the details of how this works?? I have been a volunteer firefighter for 40 years in 4 departments and have NEVER charged to put out a fire!! Given how many pancake breakfasts, bingo, and standing at intersection asking for donations from passing car I have participated in. So I could have just sent a bill out for more services.....REALLY??

My FD ran 1589 fire calls in 2019 for a city of 30k, we are 100% volunteer.
ScubaHogg
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Re: Tesla Fire Safety

Post by ScubaHogg »

TLC1957 wrote: Fri Jan 31, 2020 8:14 am
My FD ran 1589 fire calls in 2019 for a city of 30k, we are 100% volunteer.
A bit off topic but of those 1589 calls how many were actual fires and how many were actually paramedic or auto accident calls? The little data I’ve seen indicates that the number of fires nationwide has dropped dramatically the last 40 years, for a variety of reasons, but we have a similar number of fire dept personnel.
“Unexpected Returns dominate the Expected Returns” - Ken French
TLC1957
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Re: Tesla Fire Safety

Post by TLC1957 »

ScubaHogg wrote: Fri Jan 31, 2020 9:07 am
TLC1957 wrote: Fri Jan 31, 2020 8:14 am
My FD ran 1589 fire calls in 2019 for a city of 30k, we are 100% volunteer.
A bit off topic but of those 1589 calls how many were actual fires and how many were actually paramedic or auto accident calls? The little data I’ve seen indicates that the number of fires nationwide has dropped dramatically the last 40 years, for a variety of reasons, but we have a similar number of fire dept personnel.
We do not respond to medical calls with the exception of auto accidents with entrapment and we only cut them out of the car, EMS does the rest. We average 4-5 “working” house/building fires a month. Meaning visible fire and we had to extinguish the fire. Cars fires are either out when we arrive ie overheated engine or fully involved meaning they are not driven anymore. Car fires are about 4-5 a month. Way too many calls are for fire alarm and CO detectors activated which 99% are false alarms, many at between 1-4 AM!! As a all volunteer department, which most of the fire departments are in the USA, we struggle to get young folks who want to volunteer given you have about 120 hours of training before you can ride an engine.
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