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Report: Nine months later, nothing definite on six-car garage fire

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(The Center Square) – Further examination is required to determine the cause of a fire involving an electric vehicle and a six-car garage on March 26 in Michigan’s Oakland County, according to emergency response reports obtained by The Center Square.

The report, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, says in part, “Further examination of the vehicles and scene that exceeds the technical capabilities of the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office and myself are required to determine the cause and rule out other hypothesis at this time. The information contained in this report is based on information available at the time that this report was prepared.”

One of those theories is that a frozen blue 2022 Porsche Taycan electric vehicle sporting the license plate ICEBABY started the nonfatal fire. There were no injuries to home occupants or firefighters in the blaze that spread to the outer edges of the 14,000-square-foot home before being extinguished.

The report said resident Phillip Fischer “observed flames from the Porsche and the fire was spreading to the other vehicles in the garage,” according to the 52-page document detailing the fire.

Phillip said that the vehicle has not been in any accidents. However, the vehicle had mechanical/electrical issues after being jumpstarted. He said the 12-volt system on the car wouldn’t hold a charge and that the vehicle was serviced by Porche for that issue.

The purchase price was $201,705. The car had fewer than 2,000 miles, according to vehicle repair receipts.

Smoke detectors alerted the family to the fire.

One family member said she saw “flames from under the Taycan,” the report said. “They were coming out the back and left side. That was the only thing on fire at the time. The fire then spread (south) to the other cars.”

The fire consumed the Taycan, a 2015 Ford Explorer, a 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE 350, and a 2007 Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG in the Bloomfield Township garage.

The emergency log shows firefighters and emergency responders spent about five hours at the home. The report says the fire started in the northern quarter of the main garage but categorized the first material ignited as “undetermined.”

Bloomfield Township Fire Department removed the Ford Explorer and the Mercedes from the garage “due to multiple reignitions.”

EV fires burn hotter and longer than vehicles with internal combustion engines.

Porsche hasn’t responded to a request for comment about the house fire.

Electric vehicle fires can reignite because of thermal runaway, which occurs when lithium-ion battery cells self-heat in reaction to extreme temperatures, fire, or gas or shrapnel, causing them to burn hotter, faster, and even reignite after initially extinguished, according to science group UL Research.

Electric vehicle fires require much more water than normal fires.

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