Michael O’Brian of the International Fire Chiefs Association and volunteer firefighter David Dalrymple discuss EV battery fires and why first responders are currently unprepared to combat the long-burning flames.
A shocking video shows a row of electric F-150s bursting into flames after EV batteries overheated and caught on fire.
Those fighting the flames say they are currently unprepared to mitigate the looming crisis that could result from a growing number of EVs hitting the road in the near future.
David Dalrymple, a volunteer firefighter, and Michael O'Brian of the International Fire Chiefs Association say the long-burning blaze starts with the vehicles' lithium batteries and a chemical reaction that fuels itself.
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A row of electric F-150s caught fire after an EV battery overheated. (Fox News)
"It's a totally different pathway than most firefighters have to deal with," Dalrymple said Wednesday on Fox News Channel's "Fox & Friends First."
He explained how the overheated batteries inside the vehicles generate a fire that can linger for hours and is next to impossible to extinguish.
"Basically, it's a chemical reaction," he explained. "It's not a normal fire where fire needs oxygen to burn. This is a chemical reaction that makes its own oxygen. It's an exothermic reaction."
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Volunteer firefighter David Dalrymple said Wednesday on ‘Fox & Friends First’ that EV battery fires pose a unique problem for first responders. | Fox News
O'Brian said he is concerned about first responders who currently lack training and resources to fight these long-burning fires and prevent loss of life when seconds count.
According to O'Brian, gasoline-powered vehicles can often be extinguished within five minutes and the site cleanup time is relatively brief. Electric vehicles, however, can take hours to rein in because of their unique differences.
"We're now dealing with two-plus-hour incidents, and we can't actively extinguish this fire when the battery pack is involved, so fire crews are really forced with two major options – do we actively cool the battery pack, which is trying to stop that propagation within that battery pack, or do we just let it go?" he said.
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The 2023 Ford F-150 Lightning truck is shown after winning the NACTOY 2023 North American Truck of The Year Award at the 2023 North American Car, Truck, and Utility Vehicle of the Year Awards on Jan. 11, 2023 in Pontiac, Michigan. (Bill Pugliano/Getty Images / Getty Images)
EV battery fires also increase the need for upticks in fire hydrant installations, particularly in areas near freeways where they are less common, he added.
"There's a lot of change that's going to be happening, and it's not just our electrified vehicles. This discussion is happening in our buildings, it's happening in the recycling market, and you'll see, as we build more batteries, as we produce more EVs, that means more products are going to be on the road as we move to get these to assembly plants… and our fire crews are going to be continually challenged every day."
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Aside from combustibility, other electric vehicle concerns linger among critics, including cost and worries that charging the vehicles could overwhelm the power grid in some locations.
Fears coincide with an EV push from the Biden administration, including President Biden, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, and the Environmental Protection Agency, who recently proposed aggressive regulations cracking down on gas-powered car emissions, potentially impacting future car models for the years 2027 to 2032.
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Fox News' Thomas Catenacci contributed to this report.