A Lynnwood family is without a home tonight after losing everything in a weekend fire.
Neighbors describe the scene near Larch Way and 208th Place as “chaotic.” They describe ammunition going off and two Teslas exploding in the driveway.
The noise caused next-door neighbor Mark Nguyen to race outside.
“I start freaking out, ran outside. I saw that their house was on fire,” said Nguyen. “That’s when I was like, ‘Yeah, I got to get everybody out the house.’”
Nguyen helped his family and his neighbor run to safety.
Fire crews arrived quickly but were met with two major challenges.
The first was handling the ammunition that was being stored in the home’s garage. The fire scattered the ammo in all directions, leaving casings exposed once the fire was extinguished.
South County Fire confirmed to KIRO 7 that crews had to initially stay back to avoid stray bullets.
The other challenge firefighters faced was extinguishing the two Teslas parked outside. Investigators tell KIRO 7 that while the cars didn’t start the fire, they can be difficult to contain.
According to the National Transit Safety Board, many electric vehicles use lithium-ion batteries, which are a major fire hazard. These batteries burn hotter and faster than most others, can reignite days or hours later, and cause electrocution if not extinguished properly.
During an electric vehicle fire, water needs to be poured directly on the battery compartment, otherwise, the battery will continue to ignite. Training teaches crews where to find the compartment and how to avoid reignition or electrocution.
In a 2020 safety report, the NTSB outlined “gaps in safety” when it comes to addressing electric vehicle fires. The first is the “inadequacy of vehicle manufacturers’” emergency response guides for minimizing the risks to first and second responders posed by high-voltage lithium-ion battery fires in electric vehicles. The second is in safety standards. Not all departments are trained for these kinds of fires.
However, South County Fire is specially trained to handle electric vehicle fires and was able to use that training when they arrived at the Lynnwood home.
Nguyen says he’s thankful crews got the fire out, but he says the community is still struggling to comprehend everything their neighbors lost.
“Before they boarded it up, you can see just straight to the back — everything,” said Nguyen. “The walls and ceilings are gone.”