The General Fire Department responded to the May 28 fire at the Assembly plant in Rivian, Illinois. No injuries were reported and damage was minimal, but this is the third fire at the plant in seven months.
The NFD said in a statement that the fire was caused by a faulty battery pack that burned inside the Rivian Automotive plant. When firefighters arrived, the pack was inside the building to experience a thermal escape from the battery test area.
A spokesman for Rivian told us in an email, “We evacuated a portion of the general plant on Saturday as a general practice during a thermal event that affects a single battery pack.” “The pack was already identified as defective and was undergoing additional testing at the time of the incident. Our Environmental, Health and Safety team is investigating the cause with our engineering team and the general fire department, who responded immediately.”
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The fire department managed to extinguish the fire inside the plant and, once it had cooled enough, they took out the damaged battery where they continued to cool it until it was safe to leave it to Revian engineers to investigate and dismantle.
“The exact cause of the fire is under investigation, but the battery pack was in a repair area and was checked when the thermal race started,” the department wrote in a statement. “The fire was in the battery assembly area and did not involve a vehicle or manufacturing equipment.”
Fortunately, no one was injured and the damage was limited to battery packs, carriers and test booth equipment. Firefighters were at the scene from 10:38 a.m. to about 2:00 p.m.
Although the impact of the fire on the plant was mostly limited, it is significant to be the third in less than a year. In February, the General Fire Department responded to a fire that involved a vehicle that caught fire at the plant and one was evacuated. On October 26, meanwhile, it appeared in a “small fire” that ignited an automatic battery assembly area. The department commented that the damage from the October fire was negligible and that no one was injured.