A 13-ton Tesla Megapack caught fire on Friday at the Victorian Big Battery site, a 300 MW/450 MWh battery storage facility in southeast Australia during initial testing at 10 - 10.15 am local time, according to fire authorities.
A specialist fire crew was dispatched to the site in Geelong, Victoria, and the site was evacuated after a fire broke out inside a Tesla Megapack battery container. Luckily, there were no injuries.
The fire broke out during initial testing of the Victorian Big Battery energy project, which is being operated by Neoen, a French company that had hired Tesla to construct and maintain the Megapack system.
Eight FRV crews, including specialist hazmat crews, scientific advisors and Remote Piloted Aircraft System (drone) operators worked with @CFA_Updates to respond to a significant fire at a battery park in Moorabool on Friday afternoon. #WeWorkasOne pic.twitter.com/iUB1jO206z— Fire Rescue Victoria (@FireRescueVic) July 30, 2021
Neoen and Tesla worked closely with emergency personnel to control the issue, with crews working rapidly to put out the fire and prevent it from spreading to other batteries nearby.
“There was one battery pack on fire to start with, but it did spread to a second pack that was very close to it," CFA Incident Controller and District 7 Acting Assistant Chief Fire Officer Ian Beswicke said, in a CFA statement. "The plan is that we keep it cool on the outside and protect the exposures so it doesn’t cause any issues for any of the other components in the power station."
According to Fire Rescue Victoria, firefighters utilized a hazmat appliance intended for hazardous chemical spills as well as specialized drones to do atmospheric monitoring.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that a hazardous smoke warning has been issued in the surrounding Batesford, Bell Post Hill, Lovely Banks, and Moorabool regions as a result of the fire, and residents were advised to stay indoors, cover their windows, and keep their pets inside.
The site had been disconnected from the power grid, so there won't be an impact on the electric supply. The cause has yet to be identified, but will be investigated "once it is safe to do so."