smart electric fire

Reports are still understandably sparse, but News Press is reporting that a fire at a home in a gated community in Estero, FL might have been caused by either an all-electric Smart Fortwo Electric Drive or its charging station. At the very least, the "Smart car was so badly torched that fire officials couldn't determine its make or model," the News Press writes (most likely, it was a second-gen Smart ED or a converted ForTwo). The fire ended up doing $200,000 worth of damage to a $500,000 home and there were no injuries. The local NBC affiliate has a video report of the fire, which you can watch below. One important detail in the station's report: the charger was installed by the homeowner not long before the blaze.

As is important to note whenever these sorts of stories pop up, gas-powered vehicles catch fire every day. And, after the initial flurry of reports, it sometimes turns out that the advanced powertrains were not to blame (see here or here). That doesn't mean anything in particular about this case, but it's worth remembering. As the local fire department spokeswoman told the News Press, "Whether it's a car or a toaster, everyone should follow the recommendations put out by the manufacturer. I can't tell you if that was the case here. We don't know."

*UPDATE: As readers here and elsewhere are pointing out, it looks like the "charger" was for the car's 12V battery and that this was a gas-powered Smart, not an EV. Until we know more, file this with all the many other ICE vehicle fires.