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Tesla "spontaneously" catches fire in Rancho Cordova high-end vehicle scrap yard

Tesla catches fire in Rancho Cordova scrap yard
Tesla catches fire in Rancho Cordova scrap yard 00:39

RANCHO CORDOVA – Electric vehicle fires continue to pose problems for firefighters, as another incident in the Sacramento area shows.

Wednesday afternoon, a Tesla Model S that had been sitting in a Rancho Cordova luxury vehicle dismantler yard along the 3600 block of Recycle Road for almost three months spontaneously caught fire.

"The vehicle was just sitting by itself, not around anything else," said Capt. Parker Wilbourn with Metro Fire. "Nothing else could have potentially started it."

Firefighters say the vehicle wasn't charged or manipulated in that time – but its battery compartment burst into flames.

"Workers say it just caught fire and they saw a plume of smoke and the fire erupted very quickly," Wilbourn said.

Crews had to work quickly to stop the flames from spreading to Bentleys, Ferraris, and Lamborghinis that were next to it in the yard, all in various stages of being restored.

A forklift was eventually needed to lift the Tesla so that firefighters could get into the battery compartment, Metro Fire says.

Millions of dollars worth of vehicles were saved by firefighters, according to the department.

Scene of the fire at the high-end vehicle scarp yard. Metro Fire of Sacramento

As more EVs hit the road, firefighters say new techniques will have to be employed.

Tesla vehicles, in particular, have been at the center of several firefights in the Sacramento area in 2023. Back in May, a Tesla was caught on camera catching fire along Highway 99 in Elk Grove. Firefighters decided to just let the fire burn itself out.

Back in January, a Tesla reportedly spontaneously caught fire on Highway 50 in Rancho Cordova – with firefighters saying it took around 6,000 gallons of water to put out the flames.

The Tesla in Wednesday's incident wasn't involved in a crash before coming to the scrap yard, but Metro Fire says the vehicle did originate from Florida where it had been flooded. 

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