Firefighters in Port Moody say they need more training on how to deal with electric vehicle emergencies in the wake of a sudden car fire after an SUV plunged into the ocean on Wednesday.
The dramatic scene at the Rocky Point boat launch was captured on video.
The driver of an SUV narrowly escaped being run over by his own vehicle after it rolled backwards into the water while he was trying to lift the propeller on his boat.
But it’s what happened next that has first responders concerned.
After sitting in the water for about two hours, the 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander plug-in hybrid electric vehicle was towed onto shore, where a fire broke out on the undercarriage.
Bruce Gray was there and said the fire was intense.
“You could see molten stuff falling off the bottom,” he said.
WATCH: Rocky Point boat accident caught on video
“I guess the batteries were melting down, and disintegrating.”
The cause of the fire remains under investigation, but one theory is that the vehicle’s battery reacted with the salt water.
“Approximately three quarters of the way up the ramp we heard a big explosion. It sounded like a tire blowing and we investigated that. It was not what the cause was,” said Port Moody deputy fire chief Kirk Heaven.
“Just after that we started to notice smoke.”
Ron Burton, with the Vancouver Electric Vehicle Association, said a fire of this nature is highly unusual.
“Most vehicles, even gas powered ones, don’t get submerged like that so this is an exceptional situation,” he said.
But Heaven said that the incident has the department concerned.
“For the electric vehicle, hybrid vehicle, the technology changes so quickly we cannot keep up with it,” he said.
In a statement to Global News, Mitsubishi Canada said it was very concerned about the incident and that it would be seeking more information.
Port Moody police continue to investigate the incident and are trying to determine how the vehicle ended up rolling backwards.
The 45-year-old driver escaped with minor injuries.