New tool to fight electric vehicle fires comes to the Valley

Ford Hatchett
3 Min Read

AVONDALE, AZ — With more and more electric vehicles hitting the road, fire departments are seeing more cases of EV fires, often stemming from the cars’ batteries.

Several times this year, electric semi-trucks have caught fire in the Phoenix area. It takes hours for firefighters to contain those fires, which is a common theme in EV fires.

“We’ve been looking for a solution,” said Avondale Fire and Medical Department Assistant Chief Justin Ernst.

Now the department hopes they’ve found a solution in the Rosenbauer Battery Extinguishing System Technology (BEST).

The Avondale Fire and Medical Department invited ABC15 to see them test out the technology as part of their pilot program which will bring the technology to the Valley for the first time.

“It’s very simple,” said Rosenbauer Fire Equipment Sales Engineer Michael Todd. “You see as the firefighters train on this it kind of becomes like a NASCAR pit crew. Everybody’s got a position. Everybody’s got a job.”

The job starts with firefighters getting the equipment in position and setting up the control unit powered by the same air tank already on fire trucks.

The BEST unit then slides in under the electric vehicle’s battery. Once the hoses are connected and air pressure provided, the firefighting can begin — all with the flip of a switch.

The system will then puncture the battery’s shell allowing gallons of water to go directly to the fire source.

“In the past what we’ve seen is fires take 5-7 hours and thousands of gallons of water,” Todd told ABC15. “This takes 15-45 minutes, usually closer to 15, and uses about 500 gallons of water.”

“This meets two of our goals. One to save lives and protect property and also to reduce our water consumption,” Ernst said.

The system normally costs about $30,000, but Ernst told ABC15 the pilot program is no cost to the Avondale Fire and Medical Department which is hoping the technology can pay big dividends.

“It has the potential to stop EV fires, especially inside garages, before they extend inside a house.”

The department is hoping to wrap up training and have the system on their trucks in about a month.

Ford Hatchett

2023-09-15 05:22:36 , Avondale News

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