Part of a Miami Tesla dealership went up in flames on Sunday, adding yet another damaging blow to the company’s public image amid the only increasingly unhinged antics of its CEO, Elon Musk. There have been multiple recent incidents involving Tesla vehicles catching on fire — and getting caught in a Tesla fire can be particularly dangerous because of the apparently easy potential that the vehicle’s electricity (including what ordinarily opens the doors) shuts off.
There’s a mechanical function for opening a Tesla vehicle’s doors, but that option isn’t necessarily obvious — and if suddenly trapped inside a flaming vehicle with electricity that just shut off, a driver could miss it. A Canadian man named Jamil Jutha was recently trapped inside his own Tesla after a fire suddenly started and the car’s electricity went off. Jutha broke a window to escape the vehicle, where flames spread to the interior where he’d just been driving. Once outside the flaming car, Jutha sought nearby construction workers to help him direct traffic away from the scene in case the battery exploded. It’s not immediately clear how that fire even started — and it’s not clear how the Miami dealership fire started either, although local police said that foul play wasn’t suspected… which would leave the apparent option that the cars went up in flames because of some mechanical problem, again implicating Tesla (although there’s obviously also the chance that fault rests with something at the dealership).
The dealership fire — caught on camera — was initially reported around 7:30 p.m. Hours later — at around 2 a.m. on Monday morning — firefighters were back at the scene a second time to address lingering hot spots. “I saw the smoke through the sliding glass door. And when I opened the door I could smell it… The flames got pretty high and then I was scared because my dogs were in my house and my house is like right next door,” witness Maribel Abreu told local media. Three cars were damaged in the blaze, which reportedly didn’t injure anybody. There was another recent Tesla fire in California that apparently started while the vehicle was parked — which suggests serious problems. If a parked car can just go up in flames, then what on earth was wrong with it? “Ediel Ruiz and his partner were visiting family in California City on Saturday when his Tesla caught fire,” California journalist Savannah Welch reported. “Ruiz says the fire started directly under his four-month-old’s car seat. No one was in the car, he says.” Check out footage of the Florida and California fires below:
— Julia Bagg (@JuliaNBC6) May 23, 2022
WATCH: Ediel Ruiz and his partner were visiting family in California City on Saturday when his Tesla caught fire. Ruiz says the fire started directly under his four-month-old’s car seat. No one was in the car, he says.
— Savannah Welch (@svnnh_wlch) May 19, 2022
Separately, another Tesla also caught fire in Illinois on Monday. No serious injuries appear to have been reported in connection to that incident. Musk, meanwhile, has been pursuing a purchase of Twitter, although while this deal’s been in limbo, he has publicly criticized company executives. Tesla stock — Musk’s portion of which has been largely used as collateral for loans meant for the purchase of Twitter — has recently sharply declined in value. Over the past six months, it’s lost over 43 percent (or so) of its worth.
— TechCrunch (@TechCrunch) May 24, 2022