A Tesla Model S Burned Down Someone’s House

A chain reaction occurred in Yogi and Carolyn Vindum’s home while they slept. More specifically, the couple’s Tesla Model S caught fire. A fire which spread to their other EV. The subsequent blaze burned down the Vindum’s home. Moreover, the fire painfully highlights a growing concern in the number of electric vehicle fires. Clearly, there are some issues that EV producers need to address regarding safety, as well as issues with infrastructure and charging capacity that cities need to examine in homes.

The Vindum’s Tesla Model S is cause for concern

The Vindum family's home engulfed in flames
Firefighters at the Vindum’s home | Yogi Vindum

Per the Washington Post, Yogi Vindum got a notification from the Tesla app beamed to his iPhone while he slept. His Tesla Model S was telling him there was a problem. Admittedly, the app is a handy thing. It tells owners a lot about their vehicle, including any issues with charging and how much charging needs to be done. But, because Vindum was asleep, he didn’t see that notification.

Moments later, their garage was on fire. Vindum and his wife slept in another part of the house, thankfully, and he stated that “if we had lived upstairs in this house, we’d be dead.” The Washington Post also stated that a fire inspection found that the Tesla Model S’s thermal management system could be the cause. The inspection also cited a fault in the home’s electrical system as a potential cause.

EV fires pose a growing risk

The Tesla charging display on an iPhone
The charging app that sent the Vindum’s a notification that there was an issue | Kena Betancur via Getty Images

Frankly, this is not the only instance of Teslas, and EVs on the whole, catching fire with catastrophic results. We’ve covered issues with Tesla fires before, including a fire that took place on a 2015 Tesla Model S. Additionally, Chevy has recalled the Bolt for similar firey issues. By and large, the most evident concern is the nature of these fires. Yes, they pose a significant risk to life and property, but there’s more to it.

The nature of lithium-ion batteries means they can be difficult to put out. Once punctured, the lithium in these batteries reacts explosively with the air. I’ve talked about it at length in an article below, but in summary, go watch a video of someone stabbing a smartphone battery. Also, don’t stab a smartphone battery, it’s not very nice.

The development of new technology is always painful

The charging port on a Tesla Model S sedan
Firefighters say charging had a role to play in the blaze | Sergei Fadeichev via Getty Images

Honestly, EVs are a very new form of technology. They’re a microscopic blip on the human timeline. A hundred years ago we didn’t know how to get these fancy new-fangled cars to go along a street without killing anyone. These costs to human life and property are unacceptable in the modern era, and manufacturers need to be doing everything they can to prevent it. So do cities, whose electric grids are not built to handle our sudden surge in electricity demand. For now, the best thing we can all do is wait, and closely monitor your EV while it charges.

RELATED: Why Do Electric Vehicle Batteries Catch Fire?