Tesla ‘spontaneously’ bursts into flames on Sacramento County highway

A Tesla Model S traveling along a Sacramento County highway caught fire after its battery compartment overheated on Saturday.
(Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District)

A Tesla Model S “spontaneously caught fire” on a Sacramento County highway last weekend after its battery compartment overheated, authorities said.

The car was traveling at “freeway speeds” on Highway 50 in Rancho Cordova on Saturday afternoon when it burst into flames, the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District said in a tweet.

Before it was ablaze on a roadway, the car had no known mechanical problems, authorities said.


Fire crews used jacks to lift the white Tesla before spraying the underside of the vehicle and its battery.

“The fire was extinguished with [approximately] 6,000 gallons of water, as the battery cells continued to combust,” the fire district tweeted.

Photos and video from the fire district show black smoke spewing from the Tesla while firefighters spray it down on the side of the freeway as traffic keeps flowing.

No injuries were reported.

In June, the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District extinguished another flaming Tesla.

That car, which had been involved in an accident, had been parked in a wrecking yard for three weeks before it suddenly caught on fire in the yard.

It took firefighters more than an hour to extinguish the flames, the fire district said in a tweet.


Crews kept knocking down the flames, but they kept reigniting in the battery compartment, the district said. Eventually, firefighters dug a pit in the wrecking yard, placed the car inside and filled the pit with water.

According to a 2016 Model S emergency response guide by Tesla, battery fires can take up to 24 hours to fully cool.

“When a fire is involved, consider the entire vehicle energized and DO NOT TOUCH any part of the vehicle,” the guide states.