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How Electric Vehicles Can Cause Building Fires

By Dallas Personal Injury Attorney on December 20, 2022

On March 1, 2022, a European cargo ship called the Felicity Ace carrying almost 4,000 motor vehicles sank in the Atlantic Ocean about 200 miles south of the Azorean Islands after catching fire.

The fire that destroyed the Felicity Ace was caused by a spontaneous lithium-ion battery fire. Once the fire started, the Porsche and Audi electric vehicles (EVs) on the ship burned at an alarming rate, and authorities were unable to save the Felicity Ace.

Electric vehicles are increasing in popularity, but this new technology involves serious risk of fire. EV fires burn much hotter than fires caused by vehicles with conventional internal combustion engines, and they are much more difficult to extinguish.

Spontaneous fires that occur while an EV is parked or charging are a serious hazard to residential buildings. Once they begin, these fires spread with devastating speed. And most fire departments are not equipped or trained to deal with EV fires.

How Dangerous Are EV Fires?

To be cost-effective, EVs must have batteries that generate a considerable amount of power in a small space, so it’s not surprising that the chemicals used to power the lithium-ion batteries found in EVs are highly volatile.

When the lithium-ion battery in an EV catches fire, it causes thermal runaway, a dangerous condition where the fire feeds on itself and flames keep getting hotter and hotter, often even melting asphalt roads. These fires require an immense amount of water to contain, and they can reignite days later, after they’ve been sent to a wrecking yard.

Fires caused by internal combustion engines require about 300 gallons of water to extinguish. But according to Chief Palmer Buck of the Woodlands Township Fire Department in suburban Houston, it took over 28,000 gallons to put out a fire caused by a Tesla Model S. Fighting the fire was so difficult that Chief Palmer compared it to “a trick birthday candle” that just keeps reigniting.

Factors that contribute to EV battery fires include:

  • Poor design
  • Short circuits
  • Overheating
  • Manufacturing defects
  • Water damage
  • Automobile crashes
  • Charging mishaps

Were You Harmed in a Building Fire Caused by an EV?

When an EV ignites, the fire can spread quickly, especially when there are more EVs nearby, as can happen at a charging station. If you or a loved one was harmed or killed in an apartment building fire that began in a parking garage, it may have been caused by a defective EV.

When a building burns down in Texas, the fire inspector and law enforcement will investigate the incident to determine the cause. If one or more EVs were involved, you may be able to collect damages from the following parties:

  • EV manufacturers
  • EV designers
  • EV distributors
  • Charging station owners
  • Property owner who failed to take necessary precautions

How Your Personal Injury Attorney Can Help

Pinpointing the cause of a fire and determining liability is complicated. That’s why your personal injury attorney will conduct a parallel investigation. Then your attorney will file a claim against anyone whose negligence contributed to your injuries.

Personal injury claims for a building fire include the following types of damages:

  • Hospital costs
  • Reconstructive surgery
  • Emergency room treatment
  • Doctor’s office visits
  • Future medical care
  • Time missed from work
  • Reduced earning potential
  • Pain and suffering
  • Rehabilitation
  • Physical therapy
  • Wrongful death

Injuries Caused by Building Fires

Fires cause catastrophic injuries that may require years of treatment. In addition to third- and fourth-degree burns resulting from intense heat, falling objects can also cause crush injuries. In many cases, fire victims suffer lifelong harm that prevents them from ever resuming their normal day-to-day activities.

Common building fire injuries include:

  • Respiratory damage
  • Internal organ damage
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Scarring
  • PTSD
  • Loss of limb

We Handle Big Cases

At The Lenahan Law Firm, we help people who’ve been harmed by the careless actions of others. And we’ve won millions of dollars in settlements for our clients.

We’re not intimidated by anybody. If the people who caused your pain and suffering won’t make you a reasonable offer, we’re always ready to take them to court.

Super Lawyers has recognized our firm for providing clients with outstanding service and we have a perfect 10.0 rating from Avvo.

Call (214) 295-1008 to schedule a FREE case evaluation today.

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