On last night’s fatal crash, The Woodlands used over 23,000 gallons of water to extinguish the blaze which kept erupting for over 4-hours. Tesla tells firefighters to apply water directly to the battery which is under the vehicle. The following is part of instructions from Tesla to firefighters:
USE WATER TO FIGHT A HIGH VOLTAGE BATTERY FIRE. If the battery catches fire, is exposed to high heat, or is generating heat or
gases, use large amounts of water to cool the battery. It can take approximately 3,000 gallons (11,356 liters) of water, applied directly
to the battery, to fully extinguish and cool down a battery fire; always establish or request an additional water supply. If water is not
immediately available, use dry chemicals, CO2, foam, or another typical fire-extinguishing agent to fight the fire until water is available.
Apply water directly to the battery. If safety permits, lift or tilt the vehicle for more direct access to the battery. Apply water inside the
battery ONLY if a natural opening (such as a vent or opening from a collision) already exists. Do not open the battery for the purpose
of cooling it.
Extinguish small fires that do not involve the high voltage battery using typical vehicle firefighting procedures.
During the overhaul, do not make contact with any high voltage components. Always use insulated tools for overhaul.
Heat and flames can compromise airbag inflators, stored gas inflation cylinders, gas struts, and other components which can result in
an unexpected explosion. Perform an adequate knockdown before entering a hot zone.
Battery fires can take up to 24 hours to extinguish. Consider allowing the battery to burn while protecting exposures.
After all fire and smoke have visibly subsided, a thermal imaging camera can be used to actively measure the temperature of the high
voltage battery and monitor the trend of heating or cooling. There must not be fire, smoke, or heating present in the high voltage
battery for at least one hour before the vehicle can be released to second responders (such as law enforcement, vehicle transporters,
etc.). The battery must be completely cooled before releasing the vehicle to second responders or otherwise leaving the incident.
Always advise second responders that there is a risk of battery re-ignition.
Second responders may choose to drain excess water out of the vehicle by tilting or repositioning it. This operation can assist in
mitigating possible re-ignition.
Due to potential re-ignition, a Model S that has been involved in a submersion, fire, or a collision that has compromised the high
voltage battery should be stored in an open area at least 50 ft (15 m) from any exposure.
Warning: When fire is involved, consider the entire vehicle energized. Always wear full PPE, including a SCBA.