Garage Fire: 2 Electric Cars, 1 Converted From Gas, Origin Of Fire Investigated

DETROIT (WWJ) – A fire rushes through a garage in northwest Connecticut and now fire officials are trying to piece together whether or not the family’s Chevy Volt, which was reportedly plugged in at the time, is to blame.

A second vehicle–converted from a regular gasoline-powered car to an electric vehicle by the owner–was also in the garage.

“At this point, we need to let the fire Marshall do his job,” said a spokesman for GM on Saturday.

Meantime, WWJ Auto Analyst John McElroy said there is some concern over electric cars and their batteries overheating.

“The car companies are very afraid of any kind of fire, any kind of breakdown, anything like that. They’ve got a lot of safeguards, things that automatically shut the car down if there’s any kind of short, any kind of heat buildup or anything like that,” McElroy said.

“However, having said that, these lithium-ion batteries, while they’re very advanced, if they go up they burn at extraordinarily high temperatures. That’s something that if it turns out it was the Volt at fault or these advanced batteries at fault, it would really put a lot of fear in people as to buying an electric car,” he continued.

While the cause of the Connecticut garage fire has not yet been determined, many are speculating if the Volt or batteries in the car had anything to do with it.

However, General Motors Spokesman Rob Peterson said Saturday that the owner also had a Suzuki Samurai in the garage, as well. The Suzuki had been converted by the owner into an electric vehicle.

 “We suspect the Volt was more the victim of the fire than the cause,” he said.

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