April 16, 2024

La Ronge Northerner

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[EN IMAGES] Quebec: Electric vehicle catches fire in underground parking lot

[EN IMAGES] Quebec: Electric vehicle catches fire in underground parking lot

An electric vehicle caught fire in the underground parking lot of a condo building in Quebec City’s Lebourgneuf sector Wednesday morning, causing a major headache for firefighters.

• Read more: Electric Vehicles: Safer than petrol powered automobiles

The fire broke out around 3:50 a.m. in the basement of an eight-story building located on rue Claire-Bonenfant near Boulevard Robert-Bourassa.

As hundreds of tenants evacuated the house, the smoke quickly spread through several levels.

The automobile had to be completely towed away to prevent the fire from spreading to other vehicles or to the structure of the building located on rue Claire-Bonenfant near Boulevard Robert-Bourassa in Quebec.

Photo by QMI Agency, Guy Martell

The automobile had to be completely towed away to prevent the fire from spreading to other vehicles or to the structure of the building located on rue Claire-Bonenfant near Boulevard Robert-Bourassa in Quebec.

It was the batteries of the Hyundai Kona brand electric vehicle that ignited.

Photo by QMI Agency, Guy Martell

According to Alexandre Lajoie, spokesman for the Quebec City Fire Protection Service (SPCIQ), this is one of the first incidents of its kind to occur in the old capital.

“But the surgery went very well and we were ready,” confirms the organization’s spokesperson.

Fifty firefighters

Because of the complexity of the operation, a third alarm was necessary, allowing for the use of about fifty sappers.

Specifically, the vehicle must be towed out of the parking lot during the intervention.

Photo by QMI Agency, Guy Martell

“Fire in electric vehicles is a challenge because you have to spray under the passenger compartment to reach the batteries and cool them down to avoid a chain reaction,” said Mr. Lajoie explains.

According to the company’s emergency guide, an impressive amount of water should also be poured into the batteries in the flames, say at least 9850 litres.

In comparison, 2000 to 3000 liters of water is usually enough to put out a fire in a gas-powered vehicle.

The structure of the building was not damaged and residents were able to return to their homes two hours after the fire started. No one was injured during the operation.

More batteries

A few hours later, when a fire broke out at the Vélo Boivin business in Vieux-Limoilo, firefighters again had to deal with a fire caused by this type of battery.

However, only part of the wall and roof of the building sustained damage and the situation was brought under control within 45 minutes.

“The most probable cause of the investigation by the fire department is that the batteries of the electric bicycles were charged,” said Alexandre Lajoie.

Fire per 100,000 sales (%)*

  • Hybrid Cars: 3.5%
  • Petrol: 1.5%
  • Electric Cars: 0.025%

* Released in USA, June 2022

Quebec Navy

  • Fully Electric Vehicles: 80,049 **
  • Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles: 57,692 **

** As of March 31, 2022

Electric vehicle fires listed in Quebec

  • 2017: 1 (Tesla Model S – 2015)
  • 2018: 0
  • 2019: 2 (Hyundai Kona EV 2019)
  • 2020: 1 (2020 Ford Focus EV)
  • 2021: 0
  • 2022: 1 (Hyundai Kona EV 2020)

Sources: Transport Canada, Quebec Electric Vehicle Association and Auto Insurance EZ

♦ They asked NewspaperHyundai Canada, maker of the electric Kona that caught fire in Quebec City on Wednesday morning, says it is working closely with local authorities to determine the cause of the incident.