A woman driving a Tesla died in fiery crash near Cincinnati after going off the side of the road and hitting a landscape boulder and two trees, according to authorities.
Another driver who called 911 early Monday said he heard an explosion and then saw the fire quickly grow. He said he was unable to get near the burning car.
Firefighters told WCPO-TV in Cincinnati that the Tesla's battery technology complicated their efforts to put out the fire.
“A standard car fire, typically, once we get the fire extinguished, it's out, it's done, we're good to go,” said Captain Mike Masterson of the Pierce Township Fire Department. “What we're finding with this one is the batteries are shorting out on us, and they just keep generating heat and keep reigniting.”
The US National Transportation Safety Board has investigated a series of fires in Tesla vehicles and earlier this year said the high-voltage lithium-ion batteries pose safety risks to first responders after crashes.
Tesla vehicles don't use gasoline that could raise the risk of a big fire after a crash, but the company's guidance to first responders includes a warning about battery fires. Tesla representatives have said that high-speed collisions can result in a fire for any kind of car.
Authorities had not released the name of the driver killed near Cincinnati. The crash and fire left the car unrecognizable.