×
INTELLIGENT WORK FORUMS
FOR ENGINEERING PROFESSIONALS

Contact US

Log In

Come Join Us!

Are you an
Engineering professional?
Join Eng-Tips Forums!
  • Talk With Other Members
  • Be Notified Of Responses
    To Your Posts
  • Keyword Search
  • One-Click Access To Your
    Favorite Forums
  • Automated Signatures
    On Your Posts
  • Best Of All, It's Free!

*Eng-Tips's functionality depends on members receiving e-mail. By joining you are opting in to receive e-mail.

Posting Guidelines

Promoting, selling, recruiting, coursework and thesis posting is forbidden.

Students Click Here

Union Pacific rail yard in North Platte - Tesla Fire

Union Pacific rail yard in North Platte - Tesla Fire

Union Pacific rail yard in North Platte - Tesla Fire

(OP)
Fire crews battled a blaze that consumed a rail car loaded with automobiles at Union Pacific’s Bailey Yard in North Platte, Nebraska officials there said.

The fire was reported around 10:30 p.m. Sunday July 12th, not far from the Golden Spike observation tower, officials said. Arriving firefighters found the car fully engulfed in flames. It took several hours for fire crews from several surrounding departments, as well as Union Pacific employees, to extinguish the fire.

No one was injured, but all of the vehicles loaded on the rail car were destroyed. Officials are investigating the cause of the fire.

Bailey Yard is the world’s largest railroad classification yard, where workers sort, service and repair locomotives and cars headed all across North America.

One of the first responders stated that he received a jolt of electricity when he arrived on the scene and Tesla confirmed that could be the case since the batteries could be discharging.

"You could see it from about a quarter or half a mile away. You could see the flames. It was glowing pretty good," said North Platte Fire Department Captain Emerald Miller.

Around 10:30 p.m. on Sunday, the North Platte Fire Department said they received a call of a fire at Bailey Yard just north of the Golden Spike. "We were lead in by UP personnel and so we were able to access it. What really helped this situation and that's why I want to give credit to UP personnel on scene as well. As we were arriving, they were actually moving the burning car closer to us so we could access it," said Capt. Miller.

Captain Miller said the rail car was fully engulfed upon arrival.

"We had a really good idea that whatever was on there was probably a total loss. Our strategy then switched over to life safety as well as just trying to stabilize the incident itself," said Capt. Miller.

As for the cause, it's still unknown.

"It was just such a thorough melting of everything, it's almost impossible to determine the exact point of ignition. We would hope we would be able to figure that out but the trouble is it was just so much damage that I don't think we'll be able to figure it out," said Miller.

The fire department said it took around three hours to completely extinguish the fire.

"A rail car carrying finished vehicles caught fire inside of Bailey Yard yesterday at 10:30 p.m. The North Platte Fire Department responded quickly to put the fire out and there were no injuries. We are investigating the cause of the fire," said a Raquel Espinoza, a spokesperson for Union Pacific.

Fire department officials said staff on scene estimated damage costs to be around $500,000.

https://res.cloudinary.com/engineering-com/image/upload/v1596120975/tips/Tesla_sdej47.pdf

RE: Union Pacific rail yard in North Platte - Tesla Fire

Quote:

One of the first responders stated that he received a jolt of electricity when he arrived on the scene and Tesla confirmed that could be the case since the batteries could be discharging.
So many questions on this... the likelihood of a battery grounding through a first responder? He would have to be in the path of current flow, which seems odd if they're standing at a distance putting out a large fire. Path through the hose water stream? Also odd, as it's not a solid column of conductive media, and the responder would likely be geared up with gloves, boots, etc. Soo many questions...

Dan - Owner
http://www.Hi-TecDesigns.com

RE: Union Pacific rail yard in North Platte - Tesla Fire

Do you have a link to this story?

RE: Union Pacific rail yard in North Platte - Tesla Fire

Not much like a nice Li fire to warm things up.
Do electric and hybrid cars carry any indication that a fire may involve Li metal?

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
P.E. Metallurgy, consulting work welcomed

RE: Union Pacific rail yard in North Platte - Tesla Fire

(OP)

RE: Union Pacific rail yard in North Platte - Tesla Fire

If the car is on fire it's likely any identifying markings will be obliterated before the responders arrive. There's little metallic lithium in a lithium-ion battery. It's apparently the electrolyte that is the fire-hazard.

I expect the main way to tell is the lack of fuel spread combined with the aggressive fire.

RE: Union Pacific rail yard in North Platte - Tesla Fire

That would be so hard to fight since those rail cars are specifically made to be break-in proof. Not even a hole or gap to get a nozzle into.

Keith Cress
kcress - http://www.flaminsystems.com

RE: Union Pacific rail yard in North Platte - Tesla Fire

The best they could do is keep enough water on the outside to avoid igniting anything else. Autos were a total loss before the fire department arrived.

RE: Union Pacific rail yard in North Platte - Tesla Fire

Quote (bimr)

..Fire department officials said staff on scene estimated damage costs to be around $500,000...

So, both of the automobiles were destroyed?

RE: Union Pacific rail yard in North Platte - Tesla Fire

The battery is at reasonably high voltage. A lot more than house mains power.

My solar battery sits at 370V and the DC strings at normally 570V and up to 10 amps. In the morning in winter the voltage goes up to 800V.

In some countries they take the tyres out before putting water onto it. Then spray the wheels to ground it, then spray the battery.

RE: Union Pacific rail yard in North Platte - Tesla Fire

I'm not clear on this. Was there only the Tesla in it? If so that's pretty damning.

Keith Cress
kcress - http://www.flaminsystems.com

RE: Union Pacific rail yard in North Platte - Tesla Fire

these battery fires are pretty standard and regular during transport.

there was a 777 freighter burnt out in China not that long ago. The report isn't out if we ever get it. But pretty much everyone is putting it down to Li batteries.

RE: Union Pacific rail yard in North Platte - Tesla Fire

(OP)
There were multiple vehicles in the rail car, but there doesn't seem to be any mention of the number of vehicles.

The majority of automotive rail cars (called "auto racks") are either bi-level or tri-level cars. This looks like a bi-level rail cars and it generally hold 8-10 units. One would expect that it was full since it was not being unloaded at this yard. The scorch marks on the outside of the car seem to indicate that it was full as well.

RE: Union Pacific rail yard in North Platte - Tesla Fire

Thanks. Makes more sense than one lone Tesla in one of those monsters.

Keith Cress
kcress - http://www.flaminsystems.com

RE: Union Pacific rail yard in North Platte - Tesla Fire

I get the batteries are high-voltage... but that doesn't explain to me how someone is shocked while putting out a fire. A shock requires flow of current from high-potential (battery) to low-potential (ground) though a conductor (human). Battery would have to not short itself out. Human would have to be the low-resistance path of battery to ground. Only possible way that could have happened was through the water stream, and the physics of that don't support much current flow.

Dan - Owner
http://www.Hi-TecDesigns.com

RE: Union Pacific rail yard in North Platte - Tesla Fire

(OP)
A fire fighter reported the shock. Perhaps the electrical source was a nearby power cable and not the rail car.

RE: Union Pacific rail yard in North Platte - Tesla Fire

I think it depends on the gear they are using . The UK hoses have a earth connection back to the engine and then the engine is grounded if running in tank mode. The nozzle is also isolated where they grip it. Also the firefighters are not allowed to spray without gloves on which are also isolators amongst other things. They also have wellies on which are also isolators. The PPE of a fighter fighter is quiet engineered to protect them agaist a whole range of threats and its a very sackable offence to not wear the whole lot.

RE: Union Pacific rail yard in North Platte - Tesla Fire

I want anyone thinking that the Tesla could have possibly shocked the fireman to draw the complete circuit for me. I fail to see it as being conceivable.

"A path to ground" only makes sense if the source is a ground bonded system. Note that many EE's don't like the term "ground" as it results in the thinking that the electrons are desiring to return to "ground" as if the earth was the source. The accurate term is ground bond. The earth isn't the source or destination to the electrons. The ground bond is to prevent undesired voltage potentials to ground and to provide detection of the first ground fault.

In a grounded system, any leakage path on the non-grounded phase / polarity becomes a shock hazard to anything in connection with the ground. The complete circuit is back through the building bond (if in contact to bonded surface like a concrete floor, structural steel or metallic plumbing) or the earth electrode if in contact with Terra Firma back to the source. In a intact DC unbonded system, direct contact does not cause a shock. It may in an AC, the severity of the shock will depend on the stray capacitance of the system. A small AC system will not kill, a large AC system can from the capacitive leakage. Unbonded systems, however, have a slew of problems so they are rare for AC power systems. That makes ordinary power distribution we will encounter a hazard from a single contact.

Hybrid and battery electric vehicles all use unbonded electrical systems for the propulsion power system. The 12V power system still uses the frame of the vehicle as the negative conductor like conventional vehicles, but the traction battery is floating. At startup, the vehicle does a ground leakage test before applying battery to the system. Any ground fault will prevent vehicle startup. If a ground fault happens during operation, the system will continue to operate until shutdown and refuse to power up at the next startup. In the battery pack there is a double pole relay that only applies power to the rest of the vehicle when powered on. An idle vehicle has the rest of the system dead. Tesla does have CFRP body panels, but still has a steel frame. In particular, the battery pack is encased in steel to provide crash protection to the battery. Fire is conductive, so it can send electricity onto unintentional paths. But how, exactly, is the fire going to get electricity out of the steel battery cage and conduct to something else that is going to be a shock hazard, and especially a shock hazard at a distance?

RE: Union Pacific rail yard in North Platte - Tesla Fire

I have seen many "Impossible" things happen over the years.
On examination they all were eventually explained by an unforeseen and unusual condition that had not been originally considered.
On one hand I agree that a shock from the Tesla batteries is unlikely.
On the other hand I am content to wait until a plausible explanation is forthcoming.

Bill
--------------------
"Why not the best?"
Jimmy Carter

RE: Union Pacific rail yard in North Platte - Tesla Fire

I don't have a clue how a zap gets through, from the guy's I know that have had one its not a proper one. More of a buzz. Most of them couldn't tell the difference between a DC and an AC belt. None of them have been thrown across a workshop with a couple of k voltage extending your leg that's for sure. They more than likely got a tingle.

But putting one of these big battery packs out its not uncommon. looking at my solar battery its sitting at 570V dc just now and has a 10 amp fuse on it....

RE: Union Pacific rail yard in North Platte - Tesla Fire

Perhaps the EV's should be supplied with a grounding strap that trails the vehicle and ensures an independent ground.

"...when logic, and proportion, have fallen, sloppy dead..." Grace Slick

RE: Union Pacific rail yard in North Platte - Tesla Fire

Quote (davefitz)

Perhaps the EV's should be supplied with a grounding strap that trails the vehicle and ensures an independent ground.
I'm not sure whether you are being serious or not.

RE: Union Pacific rail yard in North Platte - Tesla Fire

Quote (Davefitz)

Perhaps the EV's should be supplied with a grounding strap that trails the vehicle and ensures an independent ground.
No need.
The tires do that.
Imagine the static charge that may build up on an insulated object the size of an automobile due to the friction of the passing air.
Most cars were equipped with a grounding strap to discharge static charges.
If a car lacked a static strap, the first occupant to exit was in danger of a static shock.
Since the late 40s tire material has been deliberately formulated to have enough conductivity to continually discharge any static charges.

Bill
--------------------
"Why not the best?"
Jimmy Carter

Red Flag This Post

Please let us know here why this post is inappropriate. Reasons such as off-topic, duplicates, flames, illegal, vulgar, or students posting their homework.

Red Flag Submitted

Thank you for helping keep Eng-Tips Forums free from inappropriate posts.
The Eng-Tips staff will check this out and take appropriate action.

Reply To This Thread

Posting in the Eng-Tips forums is a member-only feature.

Click Here to join Eng-Tips and talk with other members! Already a Member? Login



News


Close Box

Join Eng-Tips® Today!

Join your peers on the Internet's largest technical engineering professional community.
It's easy to join and it's free.

Here's Why Members Love Eng-Tips Forums:

Register now while it's still free!

Already a member? Close this window and log in.

Join Us             Close