Tesla, Irvine Fire Dept Disagree Over Cause Of Garage Fire

Tesla, Irvine Fire Dept Disagree Over Cause Of Garage Fire

Authorities are currently investigating the causes of a fire in a garage in Southern California that contained a Tesla Model S.

While the actual cause of the fire remains undetermined, Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA] and the Orange County Fire Authority are publicly disputing possible causes, thought to center around the Tesla charging system.

Tesla says the fire was not caused by any part of the car nor its charging system, reports Reuters.

ALSO SEE: Tesla Fires: What We Know, And What We Need To Find Out

The Fire Authority, however, released a report stating that the fire occurred "as a result of an electrical failure in the charging system for an electric vehicle".


Fire broke out in the garage on the campus of the University of California-Irvine on November 15. The blaze was noted by the car's owner just before 3 am, and it was promptly extinguished by fire crews.

The incident caused up to $25,000 of damage, though the Model S itself sustained only light smoke damage. Nobody in the house was injured.

ALSO: Owner Of Tesla Model S That Burned Still Loves Car, Will Buy Another

While the Fire Authority's report stated the most likely cause was a "high resistance connection at the wall socket or the Universal Mobile Connector from the Tesla charging system", Tesla says its own data shows the car was charging normally, with no fluctuations in the temperature and no malfunctions capable of causing a fire.

Tesla also notes that the car's charging cable was fine where it was connected to the car, and was damaged only on the wall side. This could suggest issues with the building's electrical supply, rather than with the vehicle.

The fire department report notes that cardboard boxes stacked near the 240-Volt outlet helped aid the spread of the fire.

Back in 2011, investigators determined that a garage fire that destroyed a Chevrolet Volt had started away from the vehicle, later spreading to engulf and destroy the car.

That incident was one of a handful of highly-publicized fires involving the Chevy Volt in its early days, similar to the heavy media attention paid to a small number of Tesla Model S fires.

No one is known to have been injured in any of the fires involving either car. There are roughly 150,000 fires a year in gasoline cars, according to the National Fire Protection Association.