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Chevrolet Volt owners Storm and Dee Connors were reportedly woken up by the sound of fire alarms in their Barkhamsted, Connecticut home for the second time in a week. As you may recall, the Connors family escaped injury when a garage fire consumed both their new Volt and a home-converted electric Suzuki Samurai on April 14. Now, local news outlets are reporting that the remains of the Volt reignited while still in the charred remains of the garage. The vehicle was not plugged in at the time of the second burning.

Local authorities are currently investigating the source of the re-ignition, though some members of the media-at-large have been quick to single out the Volt as the cause of the first fire, even though fire investigators have yet to speak up with their findings.

General Motors, meanwhile, is sending its own experts to investigate both incidents. The automaker originally issued a statement urging the public to refrain from leaping to conclusions about the first fire, asking everyone to allow local authorities and the automaker's own engineers time to uncover the origin of the trouble. You can find the full statement here. Thanks for the tips, Kris and Phil!

[Sources: WTNH, WFSB]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 43 Comments
      DivisibleByZer0
      • 4 Years Ago
      Asking the media not to speculate or jump to conclusions is like asking water not to be wet.
      erjhe
      • 4 Years Ago
      A car that houses a massive lithium battery catches fire on its own after being critically damaged by fire and left to sit, assumed untouched... Ya don't say.
        EZEE
        • 4 Years Ago
        @erjhe
        Your avie is 'Cool Dog' Nice.
        Dest
        • 4 Years Ago
        @erjhe
        Yeah, you bettter go scold those firefighters because they apparently didn't think the car could re-ignite on its own a week later.
          EZEE
          • 4 Years Ago
          @Dest
          In all seriousness, fire fighters really should start thinking about that. Lithium is dangerous (and, like Mercury filled twisty lights, we use them because although highly dangerous and toxic, they good for the environment yay!), and they need to think, "whoa - this sh*t could catch on fire AGAIN later!"
      Prestige
      • 4 Years Ago
      Lithium Ion failures have been suspected in a number of nuclear submarines accidents. The torpedo's are powered by lithium batteries and the paper thin membrane separating the cells has been suspected of deteriorating leading to fires. I also found this interesting article : http://www.buchmann.ca/article28-page1.asp
      carkiller
      • 3 Years Ago
      It is premature to blame the fire on the Volt or even the Home-converted Suzuki. Let the state fire marshals office and the insurance and GM forencics people do their job, release their findings, and then you will have (maybe) enuf info to reach a probable cause conclusion. On the other hand, having read the book on the Volt, a few of the ways they solve some engineering problems, most notably battery thermal management, raised hairs on the back of this EE's neck. The 288 cell pack is cooled (and in the winter heated) by distilled H2O/ethylent glycol coolant pumped thru 144 thin aluminum channels arrainged such that each rectangular pouch-like cell has one side cooled/heated by the coolant channels. The Channels are compression-sealed to the in/out manifolds with elastomeric gaskets. While this is a clever way to acheive compact, effective light-weight heat transfer, this means that there are 288 sealing locations (one in and one out per channel, X 144 channels). Sooner or later, one or more leaks will develop in one or more of these 288 seals, just like on a conventional radiator. GM ascerts that this is not an issue since the distilled water/ pure glycol coolant is essentially non-conductive, and they are right AT FIRST. Conductivity in a liquid is based on ion content, which starts out very low by design. Aqueous liquids have the nasty habit of slowly picking up ions from here, there and everywhere, even assuming the system is never opened for a flush. Aluminum itself corrodes very slowly in even distilled water, yielding Aluminum Hydroxide having nice juicy H+ and OH- ions. Now let's say a small leak develops and gets coolant across the welded tab construction cell terminals. At first nothing happens, the cells are "sealed" plastic pouches with "sealed" terminals. But water is relentless, and a small leak is found somewhere, and a weak current begins to flow. This current corrodes the terminals which ADDS LOTS MORE IONS INTO THE SOUP, which INCREASES the current flow, makes STILL MORE IONS, and in a few hours or maybe days or months you reach the RUNAWAY point at which the current flowing makes enuf heat to breach the plastic-bag packaging of the cells. Now water in the coolant can begin to mix with the Lithium in the Intercalate on cell plates, and things enter the 2nd stage of thermal runaway, with cell electrolyte reacting exothermally with the water! Even if the leak started small, we now have a hot, corrosive electrochemical system which can eat thru the thin aluminum channels increasing the coolant flow rate. Stage 3! Now GM has designed in safety systems like battery leakage current to chassis detection and cell temperature monitering, but whether these systems can, by simply opening the battery contactors and stopping coolant flow, act in time to prevent Stage 4 is the $42,000.00 question.
      nsxrules
      • 4 Years Ago
      It's obvious the Volt burnt this house down. The Suzuki in question was built years ago (original story) and there were never any problems. These people then buy a Volt and it burns the house down. Heck the car caught on fire for a 2nd time. Being that the Volt is very dear to Obama and the media is in the tank for Obama it is unlikely you'll see any reporting on this. Lets see if Ray DA-Hood Lahood is going to slam GM the way he did Toyota over the non existend unintended acceleration. Thank God the Volt has been a failure sales wise otherwise we would be seeing many more of these fires.
        Sukairain
        • 4 Years Ago
        @nsxrules
        It's too early to call out the Volt as the Culprit for this fire........ We are going to need to wait until at least the 3rd house burnt down with a Volt inside before jumping to conclusion. In the mean time, if you have a Volt, I'd recommend parking it on the street, close to a fire hydrant. Just in case.
          mkivtrd
          • 4 Years Ago
          @Sukairain
          Sukairain, tell that to the GM nutswinger Jim who doesn't understand why the Volt (which caught on fire twice) should be blamed for the fire. Government Motors will get a free pass on this from the NHTSA though since they are protected by Obama (sorry Jimmy but since GM is largely owned by the government you can't take the politics out of it)
          Jim
          • 4 Years Ago
          @Sukairain
          "Sukairain, tell that to the GM nutswinger Jim who doesn't understand why the Volt (which caught on fire twice) should be blamed for the fire." Why should it be blamed for this? And no, it's not enough that you really really want it to be to blame for this.
        Jim
        • 4 Years Ago
        @nsxrules
        " The Suzuki in question was built years ago (original story) and there were never any problems." so what? do things not degrade in your fantasy world? hell, by your logic all of those Ford cruise control fires never happened because the cars were OK for ten years prior. let the investigators do their bloody jobs first, then we'll know who to blame. and leave your political horses**t out of this.
      ExoPlanet
      • 4 Years Ago
      Ill bet 1000,000 it was shoddy garage wiring. The fact they EVEN BROUGHT up a piece of the car still smoldering is pathetic. Its finally happened, the Americans hate themselves as much as they think every other Country does. SAD!
      ken
      • 4 Years Ago
      if you think about buying a GM truck think again GM puts very little to no paint in the door jams and in the wheell wells too after buying the 2011 1500 truck found out that this is normal not to have a lot of paint in those spots this is what a GM represitive said to me over the phone after I filled a complaint with the BBB you do not see it from the out side of the truck GMs quility has gone down hill when thay can't even paint the door jams and tell this the qulity you get after paying 37,500.00 for the truck think GM should have gone into bankrupt all thay care is about there pay checks not the customer next time I think about buying a truck I look at a Dodge or Ford over GM any day thay just don't care how they make things no longer
      Jim
      • 4 Years Ago
      well, if the lithium battery was damaged by the initial fire, sure it could flare up again. especially if the casing(s) were breached.
      Paul
      • 4 Years Ago
      "home-converted electric Suzuki Samurai" hmmmm
      Kevin Rinke
      • 4 Years Ago
      Hmmm.. Brand new car with 4yrs+ engineering, testing, and development, or a 20year old home made converted Suzuki suv? Hmm that's a tough one there.
        dave and mary
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Kevin Rinke
        That's a stupid comment not knowing many many facts. Was the Suzuli converted years ago?
        Sportbike
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Kevin Rinke
        The Volt is the new component in the equation. Their Samurai has been around for years and not burned their garage down. Introduction of the Volt, and sparks fly. Hmmmm is right.
          Jim
          • 4 Years Ago
          @Sportbike
          just like they say in financial reports, "Past performance is not an indicator of future results." Your house isn't immune from an electrical fire just because you haven't had one yet.
      Smegley Wanxalot
      • 4 Years Ago
      Does this mean we taxpayers get outr $7500 back?
      Don G
      • 4 Years Ago
      A sofa in the living room that was involved in a fire has the potential to Re-Ignite, as does anything involved in a fire, whether it was the cause or not. This means nothing.
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