Update: Electric car ‘spontaneously’ catches fire at Great Hill Estates

Aug 7, 2023

After spending over three hours and using more than 11,000 gallons of water, Wareham Fire extinguished a 2020 Chevy Bolt electric car that spontaneously caught fire due to a recalled battery Saturday morning, Aug. 5, according to the Wareham Fire Department.

In 2021, General Motors recalled all Chevrolet Bolt EVs and EUVs due to defective batteries that led to numerous car fires. 

According to Wareham Fire Chief John Kelley, the owner of the Chevy Bolt confirmed their car was a part of the recall, but they have been unable to make an appointment or get the parts necessary to change out the battery.

The first crews from Wareham Fire responded to the report at approximately 4:15 a.m. next to a home in Great Hill Estates.

Upon arrival, there were multiple exposure issues with the electric car parked in a driveway.

Due to the car already having been charged, the fire was deemed “spontaneous” by fire officials.

No one was injured at the scene, according to Wareham Fire.

Kelley said, "If this vehicle had been parked in a garage the results could have been disastrous. Additionally, electric vehicle fires are difficult to fight and present unique challenges.”

He said the Wareham Fire Department has undergone specialized training for electric car fires and approximately a week and a half ago, he received his order of nozzles that were specifically designed for these types of fires.

Kelley added the goal with these fires is to cool the battery, Using water and not foam, the crew places the special nozzle under the car where the water will shoot up at the battery.

He said the mechanism is similar to a sprinkler. 

Crews, with assistance from the Wareham Police Department and Wareham Emergency Services Local 2895, knocked down the initial fire and continued to wet the vehicle. 

Approximately 30 minutes later, the fire would start again and firefighters continued to work for several hours until it was out.