A Vancouver-area driver claims he kicked the window of his almost brand-new Tesla Model Y to escape a dangerous vehicle fire after the car lost power and trapped him inside.
In a 12-minute video that has since gone viral, Jamil Jutha, the driver of the Tesla, said that the electric vehicle’s (EV) battery suddenly “died,” noting that he wasn’t sure what happened.
“All of a sudden my car just shut down, it just said ‘error error error,’ and then all of a sudden the battery started smoking,” Jutha said in the video, as flames are seen in the interior of the vehicle.
Jutha was driving towards Mountain Highway in North Vancouver, Canada, on May 20 when the Model Y that he bought about eight months ago suddenly shut down, Vancouver-based CTV News reported.
As the cabin of the car started to fill with toxic smoke, Jutha said he wasn’t able to open the doors of the vehicle and began to panic.
In order to escape, the man decided to break his way out of the car by kicking out the driver-side window.
“The doors wouldn’t open. The windows wouldn’t go down,” Jutha said.
“Of course, there’s always going to be panic in a moment when you feel trapped,” he said. “I kicked through the window, climbed out, and called 911 right away.”
Brian Hutchinson, the chief firefighter of the District of North Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services, confirmed to the Daily Hive Vancouver news portal that the department responded to an emergency call on May 20 about a Tesla Model Y that caught fire.
“The driver … had difficulties exiting the vehicle and was forced to kick the driver’s side window out,” Hutchinson said.
“There is a manual release, but in the heat of the incident, that wasn’t intuitive to him and he kicked the window out and was able to escape and within a couple of minutes the vehicle did become fully engulfed in fire,” he added.
In order to manually open the doors of a Tesla Model Y from the inside without power, a mechanical release handle near the window switches must be lifted.
Hutchinson noted that Jutha is very fortunate to have “the wherewithal and the strength” to break the window out, adding that investigators took control of the vehicle to determine the cause of the blaze.
Electric Vehicle Battery Fires
Battery-powered vehicles are notoriously difficult to deal with when they catch fire, while EVs catch fire less frequently than gas-powered cars, the use of lithium-ion batteries means the fires can burn for longer and be more intense.
Such instances are rare and most EV fires come after a car accident, though there have been disturbing experiences reported from EV owners whose cars bursting into flames without a crash, or even while charging.
In the latest incident last week in California, a Tesla Model S parked near a house was left completely charred after it caught fire, shocking its owner, Ediel Ruiz, KBAK reported. No one was inside the electric vehicle when the fire broke out.
“We were going to go to Bakersfield to go eat at Texas Roadhouse,” Ruiz said. “Luckily, for whatever reason, her grandparents canceled and we didn’t go. It didn’t happen while we were driving.”
Ruiz went to California City together with his partner to visit family when the incident happened.