Electric vehicle 'possibly caused' dealership blaze

A fire officer called to a blaze at a car dealership says it might have been started by an electric vehicle.

Lee Alford, station manager at Avon and Fire Rescue Service, said crews have "reason to believe" it was started by an EV, but added that investigations were ongoing and no conclusions had been reached yet.

A major road was closed in north Bristol when the fire began at the Drive Vauxhall Bristol North premises off Gloucester Road in Patchway at about 10:00 BST.

Mr Alford said at least 25 cars were involved and the fire service believed the fire was "accidental". The dealership has confirmed nobody was injured.

Flames and black smoke seen coming from vehicles parked in a car park
A Vauxhall dealership was evacuated while fire crews tackled the blaze [BBC]

Crews from Patchway, Southmead, Temple and Thornbury went to the scene and thick black smoke was seen rising from the site.

An eyewitness, who had been working nearby, told the BBC he saw "huge great plumes of black thick smoke going up for about 20 minutes" and when he drove closer to the site he saw "two or three" cars on fire.

'Investigation is ongoing'

Mr Alford said by the time the fire crews arrived, the first car was "fully engulfed" and the heat had quickly travelled to surrounding cars.

"The smoke plume was considerable and it looks quite dramatic, given the amount of cars involved in the fire," he said.

"We've got fire investigations ongoing at the moment.

Lee Aflord
Station manager Lee Alford said the fire service believed the fire was started accidentally [BBC]

"Due to the capacity of how the cars are parked and the location of where they are, once a fire is fully engulfed on a car then the radiated heat tends to travel quite quickly.

"Hence the full involvement, we believe more than 25 cars in the entirety were involved."

He added: "We have reason to believe it may have been an electric car that started the fire at the moment, but fire investigation is currently ongoing."

Mr Alford said the fire service would re-inspect the cars in the next few days.

Fire engines spraying water on vehicles close to the A38 in Patchway in Bristol
Fire crews were damping down the fire at lunchtime [BBC]

He said the Drive Motor Group was helping with the investigation into the fire on the dealership site located close to the Rolls Royce base and Royal Mail postal office.

Avon Fire and Rescue Service said: "Ten of our firefighters wore breathing apparatus for safety."

It said the service was still on site "to check for any remaining hotspots and to ensure the safety of the scene".

A fire engine and several cars parked along the road. Smoke can be seen in the air
Avon Fire and Rescue Service had warned drivers to avoid the area [Doru Rotaru]

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