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Electric vehicles are exploding in Florida from water damage after Hurricane Ian

The batteries that became waterlogged from the Hurricane’s impact are at risk of corrosion, which can cause fires

October 7, 2022 9:15am

Updated: October 7, 2022 6:43pm

Firefighters in Florida have been battling several fires caused by electric vehicle batteries that were waterlogged after Hurricane Ian hit the state, a top official said on Thursday.

The batteries that became waterlogged from the Hurricane’s impact are at risk of corrosion, which can eventually lead to unexpected fires, according to Florida’s top financial and fire marshal Jimmy Patronis.

"There’s a ton of EVs disabled from Ian. As those batteries corrode, fires start," Patronis tweeted Thursday. "That’s a new challenge that our firefighters haven’t faced before. At least on this kind of scale."

"It takes special training and understanding of EVs to ensure these fires are put out quickly and safely," he continued. "Thanks to [North Collier Fire Rescue] for their hard work."

Along with his insights into EV batteries, Patronis published a video of firefighters putting out a fire that started from a Tesla in Naples, Florida.

A bystander in the video can be heard saying that the firefighters had already used hundreds of gallons of water attempting to put out the fire started by the car’s battery. Patronis added that it can take hours to put the fires out.

“This is an issue many fire departments across [southwest] Florida are experiencing right now,” the North Collier Fire Rescue District wrote on Facebook. “These vehicles have been submerged in salt water; they have extensive damage and can potentially be serious fire hazards.”

It is unclear how many electric vehicles were affected by the storm. However, Florida is only behind California for the state with the most electric vehicles, with more than 95,000 registered.

Hurricane Ian, one of the strongest storms to hit the U.S., left behind massive destruction, power outages, and flooding in Florida and the Carolinas. The category 4 storm also caused more than 100 deaths.