A fire at GM’s Factory Zero EV plant halts production [Update]

A fire at GM’s Factory Zero EV plant Tuesday night caused the automaker to halt production. No employees or firefighters were injured, but the building was evacuated as a precaution. The fire was non-vehicle related.

Fire causes production halt at GM’s Factory Zero EV plant

Update: GM has resumed EV production at Factory Zero as of Wednesday morning. Detroit Fire Department and GM are still investigating the cause of the fire.

Update 2: The automaker said the fire was likely caused by a forklift accidentally puncturing a container full of battery materials.

The fire broke out inside the plant Tuesday afternoon, sparking an evacuation. GM spokesperson Tara Kuhnen told the Detroit Free Press that there was an incident involving a fire at Factory Zero.

She confirmed everyone was safe and that GM was still “investigating the situation” and would share more details when they were available. Kuhnen added that the “second shift has been canceled for the night.”

An update around 7:30 pm read, “We can confirm that a fire occurred today at Factory Zero, and all employees are safe. The fire was not vehicle related, occurred near a shipping dock area.”

Detroit Fire Chief James Harris told the Detroit Free Press that the fire department called a third alarm late Tuesday to get the fire under control. Harris said about 60 firefighters and 18 trucks arrived on the scene.

The first 2022 GMC HUMMER EV Pickup Edition 1 rolls off the assembly line at Factory ZERO (Source: GM)

Around 6:15 pm, Harris said, “No firefighters or civilians or GM employees were injured, but we did evacuate the building for precaution and it’s still smoldering.”

Detroit’s Fire Chief confirmed “It wound up being some lithium ion batteries.” This is the second incident at GM’s Factory Zero EV plant recently. A report from Oct 25 from the Detroit Fire Department stated there was “an autonomous electric car fire” inside the plant.

Although the sprinkler system helped extinguish the fire, the report claimed the ventilation system was malfunctioning. It didn’t allow smoke to exit the factory efficiently.

Chevy Silverado EV RST (Source: GM)

Kuhnen clarified, “Our investigation into the incident on October 25th indicates all safety systems operated correctly. We learned that the cause was a non-battery related component that has since been corrected.”

Electrek’s Take

GM’s Factory Zero is the automaker’s first dedicated EV plant. This is where GM builds the all-electric Chevy Silverado WT and GMC Hummer EV.

The Silverado EV RST edition will join next year, with availability expected in the first half of 2024. Another electric truck, the GMC Sierra EV, will follow shortly after. It’s expected to be available next summer.

Although it was a severe fire at the factory (three alarm), nobody was injured and it was non-vehicle related. The fire occurred near the shipping dock area. We’ll keep you updated on the latest.

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