“This is a new challenge our firefighters have never faced before”: Florida Fire Marshal warns corrosion in electric vehicles could start dangerous fires in the wake of Hurricane Ian

Abandoned electric cars during Hurricane Ian could lead to dangerous fires, according to an expert.

When batteries contained in electric vehicles corrode and cause a short circuit, they can generate sparks Fire. During Hurricane Ian, which battered the state of Florida for several days last week, many cars, both electric and gas-powered, were abandoned as drivers left the area by alternative transportation or fled to higher ground. These EVs left in water for long periods of time are prone to corrosion and therefore self-ignition.

On Thursday, state firefighter Jimmy Patronis tweeted a warning to EV owners and unsuspecting bystanders:

“There are a lot of EVs that have been disabled by Ian. When these batteries corrode, fires start. This is a new challenge that our firefighters have never faced before. At least on this scale. #HurricaneIan.”

Patronis also included video of several firefighters using perhaps hundreds or even thousands of gallons of water to put out a fire that started in an electric vehicle.


An unidentified woman, perhaps the person filming, can be heard providing context to the scene, although some of what she says is difficult to decipher. At one point, she appears to claim that “1,500 gallons” of water had already been used on that particular vehicle and the fire was “still burning.” If she’s right, fires caused by corroded EV batteries could deplete valuable water resources that are also needed elsewhere. However, no other sources have confirmed their estimate.

Although EV fires caused by corroded batteries do not appear to be widespread at this time, the threat remains real. Local public media office WUSF reported back in February that Florida is the state with the second highest number of electric vehicles. In June 2021 it was 58,000.

The Biden administration has also promoted electric vehicles, offering a $7,500 tax credit to Americans making the switch from conventional internal combustion engine cars to electric vehicles. And a new California ordinance will ban the sale of new gas-powered vehicles in the state by 2035. Seventeen more conditions have also achieved some sort of “low-carbon” or “zero-carbon” standard similar to California’s, although Florida isn’t below it.

It is unclear whether the batteries in gas-powered vehicles, which are much smaller, pose a risk of corrosion and fire.

https://www.theblaze.com/news/that-s-a-new-challenge-our-firefighters-haven-t-faced-before-florida-fire-marshal-warns-that-corrosion-in-evs-after-hurricane-ian-could-spark-dangerous-fires “This is a new challenge our firefighters have never faced before”: Florida Fire Marshal warns corrosion in electric vehicles could start dangerous fires in the wake of Hurricane Ian

Laura Coffey

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