[EN IMAGES] Quebec: An electric vehicle catches fire in an underground car park

An electric vehicle that caught fire in the underground parking lot of a condominium in the Lebourgneuf sector of Quebec City caused many headaches for firefighters on Wednesday morning.

• Read too: Electric vehicles: safer than gasoline-powered cars

The fire started around 3:50 am in the basement of the eight-story building located on rue Claire-Bonenfant, next to boulevard Robert-Bourassa.

The smoke quickly spread to several levels as the hundreds of tenants evacuated the dwelling.


The car had to be towed outside to put it out completely in order to prevent the fire from spreading to other vehicles or the structure of the building located at 1750 rue Claire-Bonenfant, near boulevard Robert-Bourassa in Quebec. .

QMI photo agency, Guy Martel

The car had to be towed outside to put it out completely in order to prevent the fire from spreading to other vehicles or the structure of the building located at 1750 rue Claire-Bonenfant, near boulevard Robert-Bourassa in Quebec. .

It was the batteries of a Hyundai Kona electric vehicle that lit up for a reason that has not yet been determined, although the criminal thesis has been discarded.


QMI photo agency, Guy Martel

According to Alexandre Lajoie, spokesman for the Fire Protection Service of Quebec City (SPCIQ), this would be one of the first events of its kind – if not the first – to take place in the Old Capital.

“But the operation went very well, we were prepared”, confirms the spokesman of the entity.

fifty firefighters

Due to the complexity of the operation, a third alarm was necessary, thus allowing the deployment of around fifty sappers.

In particular, the vehicle had to be towed out of the parking lot during the intervention.


QMI photo agency, Guy Martel

“Electric vehicles on fire are a challenge because you have to spray under the passenger compartment to reach the batteries and cool them down to avoid a chain reaction,” explains Mr. Lajoie.


QMI photo agency, Guy Martel

An impressive amount of water is also required to be poured over the burning batteries, that is, at least 9,850 liters, according to the company’s emergency guide.

By comparison, between 2,000 and 3,000 liters of water are usually enough to put out a fire in a gas-powered vehicle.

The structure of the building was not damaged and residents were able to return to their homes just over two hours after the fire started. No one was injured during the operation.

more batteries

A few hours later, firefighters again had to deal with a fire caused by this type of battery, when a fire broke out at the Vélo Boivin company, in Vieux-Limoilou.

However, the damage was limited to part of the building’s wall and ceiling and the situation was brought under control less than 45 minutes later.

“The Fire Department’s investigation determined that the most likely cause would be the batteries of the electric bicycles that were being charged,” said Alexandre Lajoie.

Fires (%) per 100,000 sales*

  • Hybrid cars: 3.5%
  • Gasoline: 1.5%
  • Eletric cars : 0.025%

* In the United States, published in June 2022

QUEBEC FLEET

  • All-electric vehicles: 80,049 **
  • Plug-in hybrid vehicles: 57,692 **

** As of March 31, 2022

FIRE IN ELECTRIC VEHICLES LISTED IN QUEBEC

  • 2017: 1 (Tesla Model S – 2015)
  • 2018: 0
  • 2019: 2 (Hyundai Kona EV 2019)
  • 2020: 1 (Ford Focus EV 2020)
  • 2021: 0
  • 2022: 1 (Hyundai Kona EV 2020)

Sources: Transport Canada, Quebec Electric Vehicle Association and Auto Insurance EZ

♦ Asked by The newspaperHyundai Canada, which makes the electric Kona that caught fire in Quebec City early Wednesday morning, says it is working closely with local authorities to determine the cause of the incident.

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