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EVs Catch Fire in Parking Structure Crash

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By Lookout Staff

April 4, 2022 -- Two electric vehicles caught fire when they crashed inside a Downtown parking garage Friday evening, Fire department officials said.

The fires come as EV automakers recently announced a series of vehicle recalls worldwide due to battery cell fire risks.

Friday's crash, which took place at around 6:20 p.m. in Parking Structure 7 at 320 Broadway, also involved two other vehicles, according to the Fire Department.

"First arriving units found heavy smoke coming from the first floor of the 4th Street side of the parking structure," said Fire Captain Patrick Nulty, the Department spokesman.

"Crews began fire suppression on two vehicles that had caught fire as a result of a traffic collision inside the structure," Nulty said.

The fires -- which appear to have been sparked by small explosions caused by the electric car batteries -- were extinguished by fire fighters in about 20 minutes, fire officials said.

One of the drivers was hospitalized and two others were treated by paramedics and released at the scene, Nulty said.

There were no passengers in any of the four cars involved, he said.

"Fire crews initially encountered small explosions due to the electric vehicle’s batteries," Nulty said.

Last month, it took firefighters 4 hours to put out a blaze when a Tesla crashed in a ditch near Fillmore and caught fire, according to CBSLA.

"The fire department noted that fires to electric vehicles are tough to put out because their batteries get extremely hot," CBSLA reported.

"#EVFires can be very difficult because of the large batteries and difficulty to get water on the battery to cool it," the fire department wrote on Twitter.

Late last month, Volkswagen Group announced a recall that affects more than 100,000 plug-in Audi, VW, Skoda and Seat cars worldwide.

"There is a risk of fire due to an insufficiently insulated high-voltage battery," a Volkswaen Group spokesperson told Automotive News Europe.

Hyundai last month also announced it planned to recall 51,000 Kona electric cars worldwide due to battery cell fire risks, according to The Asahi Shimbun Asia and Japan Watch.

On Friday evening, a portion of 4th street between Broadway and Colorado Avenue was closed to traffic as firefighters extinguished the blaze.

The affected stretch was reopened at around 9:45 p.m., officials said.

A fire investigator was called to the scene, Nulty said.

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