- A couple said their Tesla Model S caught fire while charging overnight, per The Washington Post.
- The Tesla ignited a second Model S next to it and caused a massive house fire, they said.
- A fire report said the blaze caused about $US1 ($AU1) million worth of damage, per The Post.
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A California couple has said that their Tesla Model S caught fire while charging in their garage overnight, spread to a second Tesla vehicle before engulfing their house in flames.
Yogi and Carolyn Vindum, residents of San Ramon, California, have not been able to return to their home since the blaze, which happened on December 30 last year, The Washington Post reported.
“If we had lived upstairs in this house, we’d be dead,” Yogi Vindum told the Post, which was the first publication to report the fire on Wednesday.
Yogi Vindum said that a car alarm woke them up at 5.37 a.m. that morning as the house filled with smoke, per the Post.
The couple’s 2013 Tesla Model S 85 had caught fire as it was charging, and ignited a second Tesla Model S parked next to it – creating explosions strong enough to blow off the garage doors, they told the Post.
The Post’s report included video footage of the fire taken by Yogi Vindum on the night.
The Post said that the Vindums received a fire inspection report in July which cited either the car’s thermal management system or electrical system as the possible cause of the blaze.
Yogi Vindum told the Post in an video interview that the fire ripped through the garage up to the office above, and destroyed a further two rooms and a bathroom. He and his wife were sleeping in the back of the house and escaped without injuries, he said.
The fire caused more than $US1 ($AU1) million worth of damage, the Post reported, citing a report by the San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District.
“The firemen said it was so hot that they couldn’t walk up the driveway,” Yogi Vindum told The Post. At least six fire trucks arrived at the scene, he said.
Tesla has faced mounting concerns over numerous reports of its vehicles catching fire. In July, a new Tesla Model S Plaid reportedly caught fire in Philadelphia while its was being driven, Mark Geragos, the owner’s lawyer, said.
In 2019, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) opened an investigation into a potential problem in Tesla Model S and X batteries that could cause fires, it said in a letter addressed to a Tesla lawyer at the time.
The NHTSA told Insider in an email that it would not comment on an open investigation.
Other automakers are facing scrutiny over the safety of their electric vehicles as they rush to release new models. In February, Hyundai recalled 82,000 EVs to replace their battery systems over fire safety concerns, per Reuters.
And General Motors told around 51,000 owners of previously recalled 2017-2019 Chevrolet Bolt EVs in July to avoid parking them indoors or charging them unattended, after receiving reports that two had caught fire in the weeks prior.
Tesla did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.