The Sunshine State’s chief financial officer and state fire marshal, Jimmy Patronis, noted on Twitter that “there’s a ton of EVs disabled from Ian. As those batteries corrode, fires start. 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 added.
It can take hours to put out an electric vehicle that has burst into flames, the New York Post noted.
Hurricane Ian made landfall last week and firefighters are now dealing with the new problem of electric vehicles ending up underwater following widespread flooding and later bursting into flames.
In a video posted by Mr Patronis, a bystander can be heard saying that it takes thousands of gallons of water to put out an electric vehicle that has caught fire.
Footage posted to social media shows the North Collier Fire Rescue District covering a white Tesla in water from both above and below to douse any possible sparks.
Mr Patronis and state Representative Bob Rommel were visiting the area when the district got the call about an electric vehicle fire. They joined the firefighters to see the problems that arise when trying to put out such fires.
“This is an issue many fire departments across [southwest] Florida are experiencing right now,” the district wrote on Facebook. “These vehicles have been submerged in salt water; they have extensive damage and can potentially be serious fire hazards … No one was injured on the fire, traffic interruption was minimal, and the crews remained on scene with the vehicle for hours to ensure it was extinguished.”
According to figures from the Department of Energy, Florida is second behind California in the number of registered electric cars, with more than 95,000 being driven around the state compared to the Golden State’s 563,000.