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Brussels fire department tackled 19 electric vehicle fires in 2021

A fire officer attends to a burning car in Namur (Belga image)
06:08 28/06/2022

The Brussels fire brigade had to intervene 19 times in the region last year for fires involving electric vehicles such as scooters and cars, Bruzz reports.

Electric vehicle fires are particularly dangerous, a spokesperson for the fire department said. If the battery also catches fire, the fire brigade must submerge it under water for a long time to ensure that it's completely extinguished. In April, for example, about 30 electric scooters caught fire, leading to the fire brigade immersing them in a container of water.

The fire brigade has also purchased a special, large container for the immersion of electric cars. In addition, a "telehandler", a kind of lift, has been acquired to extract burning or burnt out vehicles from underground car parks. The fire brigade also works together with the Audi factory in Forest, which provides a container.

In the hope of reducing the risk of electric vehicle fires in underground car parks, the fire brigade is now holding talks with the authorities - at regional and federal level - to draw up a safety law for them. For example, the fire brigade wants no fast chargers to be provided, that electric cars are not parked lower than level -1 and that smoke detectors and sprinklers must be provided. "We are also aware that the technology is evolving, batteries will hopefully also improve," the spokesperson said.

Nevertheless, the number of fires involving electric vehicles remain fairly limited compared to fires with non-electric cars. According to the fire department, it concerns one to two car fires per day in the region, which, according to the spokesperson, are often deliberately set on fire.

Written by Nick Amies