Electric battery fires blaze in Vermont

Firefighters warn of ‘extremely toxic’ gases

By Guy Page

A battery-powered electric car caught fire on I-91 in Putney Saturday, August 27 and a shipping container of electric batteries caught fire at the Burlington International Airport Friday, August 26.

Firefighters warned that fires emitting toxic gases will become more common as EVs become more popular.

Firefighters, with assistance from a local towing company, raised a burning EV off the ground in order to apply cold water to a burning lithium-ion battery. Putney Firefighters Association photo.

On Saturday, “members responded to Interstate 91 for a reported electric vehicle on fire,” the Putney Firefighters Association reported Sunday on its public Facebook page. “We arrived on scene to find an older model Chevy Volt with a light smoke condition pushing from the battery pack under the vehicle.”

Members quickly “pulled an 1 3/4 attack line” to the car and began cooling the failing battery before it could degrade any further.

Mutual aid Tankers from Westerminster were requested and in total over 14,000 gallons of water was used to keep the batteries cool. “A huge thank you to our friends at Rods Towing for lifting the vehicle to give us better access to the battery,” the local firefighters said.

Lithium-Ion battery fires are becoming more and more common as more electric vehicles make their way onto our roads, Putney firefighters said. “The gases they put off when on fire are extremely toxic, if your vehicle or any of your electronics that use Lithium-ion batteries catches on fire move away from it immediately and call 911,” the PFA said. 

Friday, a shipping container filled with lithium-ion batteries for the Beta Technologies plant located at the airport caught fire, Seven Days reports. The fire – unlike most fires – was not initially reported to the media, 7D said. The news came out following media requests for information. 

The fire was controlled within a half-hour, thus preventing an uncontrollable “thermal runaway” that can occur when batteries burn, 7D reported.

Beta Technologies manufactures electric battery-powered airplanes. 

Categories: Energy

9 replies »

  1. Question for the Climate Change Cultists – toxic elements that were washed into the ground go where? So all the promotion of these vehicles that are toxic time bombs is good for the environment? Where do cell phones, laptops, etc. go to die? Please explain.

    • The solar panels too. There are thousands of defective or broken panels sitting in installation company warehouses because they cannot be recycled nor will the manufacturers take them back. An inconvenient truth.

  2. We’re going to see more and more of this as more people adopt electric cars and plug them in at home or at a business or parking lot. Glad my little fuel efficient gas powered car just sits there when I park it!

  3. Nothing to see here folks, keep moving…these folks are saving the planet and all everybody wants to do is give them a hard time about open pit lithium mines, children digging cobalt with their hands and getting pennies for a gunnysack of ore and now a little bitty toxic fire…sheesh!

  4. This kind of makes that Burlington electric bus purchase a bit scary. According to articles, the batteries run the whole length of the bus. If I had little children, they wouldn’t be riding in that thing. Imagine wondering if your children will burn in a school bus. We aren’t being led by the best and the brightest. More charging stations coming right up though says the gov.

  5. So farmers are plowing under their fields because there is a water shortage, but we need 14 thousand gallons to put out an electric car? Great use of resources.