(RepublicanInformer.com)- California Highway Patrol shut down Highway 1 after a fire was reported at a Tesla and Pacific Gas & Electric, Co. energy storage facility in the Monterey Bay area in California. A shelter-in-place advisory was put out as the facility worked with firefighters to stop the spread of the fire, according to Western Journal.
A fire was first reported early Tuesday morning 2 a.m., at Elkhorn Battery, a battery energy storage system. Firefighters found a battery pack on fire, according to Chief Joel Mendoza of the North Monterey County Fire Protection.
“PG&E is working with firefighters to stop the spread of the fire and provide a safe area for emergency response personnel. Safety systems at the facility worked as designed when the issue was detected, and automatically disconnected the battery storage facility from the electrical grid,” Jeff Smith, the PG&E Communications Manager told the news outlet.
The Tesla Megapack is part of the facility’s energy storage system, designed to store “energy for the grid reliably and safely, eliminating the need for gas peaker plants and helping to avoid outages,” Tesla’s website explained, adding that it is “one of the safest battery storage products of its kind.”
Units undergo extensive fire testing and include integrated safety systems, specialized monitoring software and 24/7 support,” the website continued. But Mendoza explained how dangerous it could be when these batteries did catch fire.
“The thing about these batteries is they burn for days, sometimes. In this particular case it burned rather quickly, in six hours or so,” Mendoza said. Our of precaution, authorities decided to close the highway down anyway.
“As we started seeing weather and wind speed and direction change, we decided we would shut down Highway 1 and Dolan Road—we are not allowing anybody in. A shelter-in-place order is going out that is going to say stay indoors, shut you[r] windows and turn off AC units,” Mendoza said.
“It’s out of an abundance of caution. If some of these products of combustion carry far enough to where somebody would inhale something—we don’t anticipate that happening, but as a public agency in charge of public safety, we [are acting in] an abundance of caution,” the chief continued.