Fire Breaks Out Near California Tesla Factory

By Chris Jasurek

Flames consumed a building near the Tesla electronic automobile factory in Fremont, California, on the evening of Aug. 23.

Crews from the Fremont Fire Department responded to a small fire near the Tesla plant at 5:20 local time.

The fire apparently started in a bale of cardboard, then spread to some grass and then ignited a nearby building. The burning grass fronted on a fence at the edge of the Tesla factory parking lot.

“The situation was complicated because power lines in the area had also caught fire along with a power pole,” Fremont Fire Division Chief Doug McKelvey told Fox News.   


The smoldering cardboard bale presented the greatest challenge.

“It’s still burning in there,” said McKelvey.

“We are getting assistance from Telsa. They have an excavator. The excavator is helping pull these bales apart so we can get the water into and among the cardboard. Once a fire gets in a bale it’s actually pretty hard. It needs to be broken apart.”

The fire was controlled in just over half an hour, Business Insider reported, and was fully extinguished half an hour later, according to Fox.


A fire broke out near the Tesla Factory in Fremont, California
A fire broke out near the Tesla Factory in Fremont, Calif., on Aug. 23, 2018. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Elon Musk: ‘No Injuries or Damage’

Elon Musk tweeted that the fire never reached the factory.    

“I was just there. Cardboard being prepped for recycling along southern fence line caught fire. Super appreciate fast response by Fremont fire dept! No injuries or damage to factory.”

This would seem to indicate that the cardboard bale belonged to Tesla.

Fremont Fire Department Division Chief Diane Hendry told Fox that investigators would probably not know the cause and origin of the fire until Aug. 24, at the earliest.     

Tesla told the Wall Street Journal that the fire wouldn’t impede the production of the Model 3 sedan.

The company erected a giant tented addition to the factory in order to meet unexpected demand for the new sedan, and meeting production goals is a priority. Tesla said the fire was not near the giant tent.

According to the Journal, maintaining production is important because CEO Elon Musk has told investors he wants to take the company public. Production delays could affect stock valuation.