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DAVIE (CBSMiami) – A driver is dead after he lost control of a Tesla and slammed into a tree in Davie.
It happened on Sunday afternoon on South Flamingo Road near 12th Street.
Davie police said the four door 2016 Tesla Model S burst into flames on impact. Arriving officers tried to get the driver out but couldn’t.
“They attempted to break the window in an attempt to get the driver out but the flames were too strong and too big and they were unable to and so there was no doorknob and they were unable to get into the vehicle that way,” said Detective Vivian Gallinal.
Police have identified the driver as Omar Awan. Witnesses said that the Tesla was traveling at approximately 75-90 mph when it crashed.
Police say Awan’s wife tracked his cell phone to the crash scene and was informed by authorities that it was her husband involved in the crash, and that he had died.
After the Tesla was removed from the scene, it ignited twice more while at the tow yard; once at 4:57 a.m. which police say was due to a ruptured battery, and again at approximately 9 a.m.
The car had to be dragged out of the lot before the fire could be controlled.
It’s another example of a battery fire in an electric powered car being difficult to extinguish.
“It’s called rhermal runaway,” said Batt. Chief Robert Diferdinando. “The battery has been breached and the cells touch each other, and when they touch each other they are discharging and it’s gonna keep doing that until the power runs out, and that can take a week.”
The chief explains how Tesla and other electric car manufacturers provide fire departments specific instructions on how to deal with this type of fire.
“This is something we have to do extra training for, our personnel dealing with something like this,” he said. “This is not a regular car fire.”
Tesla released a statement, reading in part:
“We are deeply saddened by this accident….We understand that speed is being investigated as a factor in this crash, and know that high speed collisions can result in a fire in any type of car, not just electric vehicles.”
Last May, three teens in a 2014 Tesla Motors Model S were heading south on Seabreeze Boulevard in Ft. Lauderdale when the driver, 18-year-old Barrett Riley, lost control and slammed into a concrete wall. On impact, the vehicle burst into flames.
Riley and 18-year-old Edgar Monserratt, who was sitting in the front passenger seat, died in the crash. Alexander Berry, 18, who was in the back seat, was ejected on impact and suffered serious injuries.
Investigators said they were traveling at 116 mph seconds before the crash.