Homemade electrical cars burned in north Phoenix garage fire

Homemade electric vehicles caught fire in Phoenix during the morning hours of June 18, damaging a family home near Cactus and Cave Creek roads.

When crews arrived at the scene and realized it was two homemade EVs on fire, they brought out a winch and yanked them out as fast as possible.

"Command made contact with the homeowner, and he stated that the vehicles inside were homemade electrical cars," Capt. Todd Keller of the Phoenix Fire Department said. "A hazmat unit was dispatched to the scene to meter the area and all readings came back normal."

Around 7:30 a.m., the Phoenix home was engulfed in flames.

"It took off really quick. You could see that fire pattern… it had heavy smoke showing from that east side," said Keller.

Three people will be displaced as a result of the fire.

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Homemade electrical cars were burned in a garage fire on June 18 at a north Phoenix home, firefighters said. (Phoenix Fire Dept.)

Crews took the battery from one burned vehicle, placed it in a drum and covered it with special sand. It was still smoking hours later.

"If you do have an electric vehicle, and it catches fire, please relay that to the 911 dispatch center, and they can get that to us, and we can start getting our hazmat units, so we can wrap our heads around how we're going to attack this fire," said Keller.

It's still not clear what happened or how it started. PFD says they're investigating the exact cause.

The homeowner said he's just happy his family is safe. Items that were burned can be replaced.

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Converting vehicles to electric

High on the lift, what's under the hood of a vintage El Camino might surprise you. Mark Scalpone and Logan Necochea of Vintage Iron and Restoration converted it to electric.

"We gutted it, we cut the floor out, built the chassis, the suspension," said Mark. They've been converting hot rods to EVs for a few years.

"They're liquid-cooled, so when the car is on, it's pumped coolant through there and cooling the batteries," explained Mark.

Mark says there are a few people he knows who have done it on their own, but it's important to know what you're doing.

"Most of anybody that wants to convert a car is probably an electrical engineer and is like, oh, this is really cool, and they can do it."

Logan and Mark say conversion can be safe and a lot of fun. They take their time to do it safely.

"I think if you do that, along with precautions with the wiring and everything like that, I don't think there's going to be a problem," said Mark.

Map of where the fire happened