Tesla Investigating Model S That Caught Fire After Being Towed

Tesla is investigating an incident where a Model S unexpectedly burst into flames while being towed to a garage.

KPIX reports that the incident happened in the San Francisco Bay Area shortly after the owner of the Tesla suffered a flat tire and called to have the vehicle towed to a local repair shop.

However, after being towed for between 5 and 10 minutes, smoke started to billow from the electric sedan. Before long, flames had taken a hold of the Tesla and by the time Santa Clara County fire crews arrived on the scene, much of the car had already been destroyed.

“The vehicle started off-gassing, making a loud hissing noise and producing some additional smoke. That’s an indication that there’s some type of combustion process happening in the batteries,” Santa Clara County Fire Captain Bill Murphy said.

Fire officials say that the Tesla wasn’t involved in a collision and wasn’t being worked on at the time of the blaze.

The fire was extinguished shortly after authorities arrived on the scene but NBC Bay Area says the batteries continued to burn long after the larger flames were extinguished. The Tesla was then transported to a tow yard where hours later, it reignited.

“We are currently investigating the matter and are in touch with local first responders. We are glad to hear that everyone is safe,” Tesla said in a statement.


  • Mr. EP9

    Don’t you just hate it when your car gets a flat tire and burst into flames while being towed? So annoying.

    • Enter Ranting

      Elon says it’s a feature.

      • KenjiK

        To keep you warm while you wait on the side of the road.

  • D3X

    Li-on batteries are extremely flammable, we already know this. Cough Note 7 cough…

    • larryw4csc

      Not to mention the hugely expensive Boeing 787 Dreamliner fires that grounded their fleet for a while.

  • ➡️ProtectOurHeritage⬅️

    Ferrari and Porsche fires were covered by the mainstream media and were bashed extensively at the time.

  • Adilos Nave

    S3XY, where is S3XY?

    • john1168


    • Mr. EP9

      I think he’s charging his Volt or perhaps he’s upset that GM decided to kill it.

  • john1168

    HOW was this vehicle being towed??? Was it on a flatbed or was the front end just picked up with the rear wheels being dragged??? If the wheels were being dragged then the motor may have been turning and the batteries inadvertently charged without any cooling? I could be wrong but that’s the theory I’m working on…

    • BrucieBruce

      It’s the Bay Area, not middle of the desert. I’d bet all the tow trucks in SFBay are flatbed types. For last 10 years I’ve only seen flatbeds. Tow truck drivers know that they can’t pick up Teslas like that. But I suppose anything is possible. Of course, the re-ignition had nothing to do with the tow either way.

      • john1168

        Could be a mechanic put the jack in the wrong place when jacking up the car and damaged the battery pack leading to short circuiting within the pack and a fire.

        • scjeff

          I’m betting what caused the flat tire also punctured the battery tray and was just a bit delayed before the fire started.

  • larryw4csc

    Tesla deflects by saying lots more gas cars catch fire than EVs, but, of course, fails to mention gas cars are in billions and electric cars are in thousands. Search with Google and see how many gas cars spontaneously ignited with noone around them in the last 100 years.

    If the damned car was a DIESEL your answer would be zero. Diesel fuel doesn’t evaporate into explosive vapors, which is the reason besides great fuel economy and simplicity why ships, trains, trucks, and a host of other applications are DIESEL not gas or battery powered by highly dangerous huge battery banks.


  • TheBelltower

    There has to be more to the story than this. It’s very unlikely that an undamaged car just decided to burst into flames while being towed.

  • Matt

    You can’t eliminate fire risk, if that’s what you’re suggesting manufacturers do.

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