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Crash involving electric car leads to hazmat cleanup in Petaluma

Emergency crews are dealing with more high-speed pursuits and more electric car fires as the EVs grow in numbers on highways.

It was something the California Highway Patrol and fire crews faced Saturday on northbound Highway 101 in Petaluma as an EV driver pushed the speed limits of his power on demand car and crashed, leaving a path of burning batteries in his wake.

“The vehicle sped up to well over a 100 miles per hour,” said CHP officer Ronald Chastain.

According to the CHP, the driver, a man in his mid 20s, sped up after a CHP cruiser pulled up behind him, looking to pull the driver over for speeding.

“The officer turned on his lights and sirens, and was going approximately 100 mph and the vehicle was still pulling away from him,” Chastain said.

Chastain added the driver couldn’t negotiate the curve at the northbound exit and hit a concrete barrier and rolled.

Then, the burning batteries scattered across the roadway as the car flipped into the water.

“They were on fire when we showed up. Some of them exploded,” Chastain said.

Chastain worries first responders will encounter more and more of the super-quick EVs and more of the crashes involving their batteries that burn extremely hot and are difficult to fully extinguish.

“This is probably the first crash that I’ve came out to where there’s batteries in the road on fire, and so it’s going to be evolving training I guess and evolving as we go and learn more about these vehicles,” Chastain said.

Recently, the Mountain View Fire Department purchased a new tool to help battle the battery fires more efficiently and safely. It allows firefighters to stand back while the system punctures a hole in the battery compartment and fills it with water until it’s out.

More fire departments are expected to use the devices that cost about $34,000 to keep pace with the increased EV crash numbers.

As far as this crash goes, hazmat teams decided to leave the car in the water until Sunday to make sure no battery fires reignite.

Source: NBC Bay Area

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