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Pic: Tesla-powered facility catches fire, area shut down over possible toxic fumes

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk (NASA / Aubrey Gemignani/TNS)
September 20, 2022

A Tesla Megapack battery caught fire on Tuesday morning at PG&E’s Moss Landing energy storage facility in Monterey County, California, triggering a shelter-in-place and shutting down the local highway due to possibly hazardous fumes from the fire. 

The Monterey County Office of Emergency Services issued a shelter-in-place advisory Tuesday morning, citing “an ongoing hazardous materials incident in Moss Landing.” The Monterey County Sheriff’s Office and local police department also shut down Highway 1.

“Please shut your windows and turn off your ventilation systems. In the event of changing weather patterns, impacted areas may change,” the advisory stated. 

CBS Bay Area reported that the Tesla-powered facility was disconnected from the state power grid as an extra precaution. No injuries have been reported.

David Aguilar, executive producer at KSBW, tweeted a photo that showed a massive cloud of smoke billowing out of the facility.

According to CNBC, PG&E spokesman Jeff Smith said, “Safety systems at the facility worked as designed when the issue was detected, and automatically disconnected the battery storage facility from the electrical grid.”

Richard Stedman, an air pollution control officer for the Monterey Bay Air Resources District, said lithium ion batteries can emit toxic fumes if they catch fire, although he did not have any immediate data about air quality related to the PG&E Tesla battery fire.

Dashcam footage released for the first time earlier this year showed the moment an out-of-control Tesla on autopilot slammed into a parked police car, causing the police cruiser to then fly off the road and strike a sheriff’s deputy standing nearby in 2020.

“Luckily, the state trooper pushed our deputy out of the way when he heard the tires squeal, and in an instant, we could have lost a life or several lives,” Nash County Sheriff Keith Stone said following the accident. “It could have been very horrific.”