New device aims to help firefighters battle electric vehicle fires

One of the biggest challenges of putting out an electric vehicle (EV) fire is trying to get inside the battery to flood the battery.

"They're very difficult to put out," said Avondale Fire Department Battalion Chief Garry Siler.

Now, there is a new device that punctures holes in an EV's battery, and floods it with water.

"It goes right through it. It's pretty amazing," said Battalion Chief Siler.

Arizona-based Velocity Fire Equipment is calling the device the BEST (Battery Extinguishing System Technology) system. Fire crews would push the device under where the car battery would be, and then, using air pressure, they jam the piercing nozzle through the bottom, and flood it wit water.

"It's a lot of pressure. About 600 psi that comes out of that piercing nozzle," said Michael Todd with Velocity Fire Equipment.

Todd says the device uses much less water than the amount of water used when fighting a typical car fire.

"As fast as 15 minutes and 500 gallons of water, the fire is out," said Todd.

In the Phoenix area, EV fires have become a major concern for fire departments. In one incident, a Tesla reignited on a tow truck, after crews believed it was extinguished. That incident happened in February.

In another incident that happened in May, firefighters took a burning Waymo car, dropped into a storage container covered in wet sand, and allowed it to slowly burn out.

Avondale Fire officials believe the BEST system could be a game-changer.

"There hasn't been a really great answer for getting a quick extinguishment on it. Usually, it would take thousands of gallons of water," said Battalion Chief Siler.

Avondale Fire is the first agency in the Phoenix area with BEST, and they plan to help other Phoenix area agencies respond, if asked. Avondale firefighters will begin formal training on the device in two weeks.