NTSB wants to learn more about Tesla battery fire

WASHINGTON – The National Transportation Safety Board is sending an investigator look into a Tesla (TSLA) battery fire in Southern California.

The specialist will observe Tesla’s examination of the Model S that caught fire Friday on a street in West Hollywood. The agency says the trip will allow it to learn about fires in all battery-powered vehicles.

Actor Mary McCormack shared video of her husband’s Tesla car shooting flames near the front wheels. She says in a tweet that there was no accident and the incident was “out of the blue.” McCormack is married to director Michael Morris.

Tesla called the incident “an extraordinarily unusual occurrence” and said it’s investigating. No one was hurt in the fire.

In a statement Tesla said, “Our initial investigation shows that the cabin of the vehicle was totally unaffected by the fire due to our battery architecture, which is designed to protect the cabin in the very rare event that a battery fire occurs.”

Tesla maintains that it takes extraordinary measures to protect passengers from fires, which it says are at least 10 times less likely in a Tesla than in a gas-powered car.

“We’ve driven over 50,000 miles in these vehicles and have never replicated this or anything like it, nor have we seen any evidence elsewhere of other cars spontaneously catching fire, so I think it needs more investigation,” Alistair Weaver, editor-in-chief at Edmunds, told CBS News correspondent Jamie Yuccas.

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