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Model X burns on the ice in Vermont on February 24, 2019

GreenMtnM3

Member
Feb 26, 2019
78
221
Burlington, Vermont
At 8:00 in the evening of February 24, we noticed a bright light on the ice on the surface of Shelburne Bay on Lake Champlain. Through a telescope, we could see it was a vehicle, and it was burning really hard. We called 911 and my sons skied out to the scene to investigate. The fire had numerous small explosions, and in time, it was apparent that very little was left. Through a telescope, I suspected it was a side-by-side UTV, since no body panels were visible, and a roll cage structure was apparent through the flames. Firefighters arrived about 30 minutes later and told my kids it was a Tesla, and that the occupants had thankfully exited the vehicle.

When they got home and told me, I thought they were pulling my leg. But just to be sure, I checked in the garage to make sure my Model 3 was still safe and sound. The next morning I walked across the ice to look at the vehicle and found that yes, indeed, it was a Model X. It was fully burned, the body was pretty much gone. It makes it easy to see where the steel reinforcement is!

Does anyone on the forum know what happened? There was no coverage in the local news. I'm sure that some Model X owner is really upset about this. I'm curious to know if the fire was spontaneous, caused by some mechanical damage from hitting something, or from overheating due to wheelspin on the ice. Since I've watch a cop show or two in my day, I'm also thinking that it could be a stolen vehicle, but that seems unlikely.
Tesla Model X after fire.jpg
 

MorrisonHiker

Well-Known Member
Mar 8, 2015
10,244
9,967
Colorado
I doubt it was caused by overheating due to wheelspin. We took a Model 3 out on Georgetown Lake, Colorado on Sunday. Even with summer performance tires, we had no problem moving on the ice. There were spots with rutted snow and we got stuck for a few seconds but easily were able to get moving again by enabling slip start.

Since there were no people around, I would first think it was stolen or perhaps insurance fraud.

D0L86KcVAAAbVBc.jpg:large
 

jboy210

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Dec 2, 2016
5,469
3,468
Northern California
Some kids probably borrowed his parents car and crashed it. Rather than own up he torched it.

Kid in my high school class did the same thing when he crashed is dad's 911. Except it torched was in a fig field, not on a lake Not sure if the parents every knew the truth or really cared since insurance paid.
 

byeLT4

Member
Feb 16, 2017
781
902
Texas
Should be interesting if the story ever comes out. I'm wondering if they thought it would burn through the ice and sink and leave no evidence? Whoever did it that is...... :rolleyes:
 

Need

Active Member
Nov 22, 2017
2,989
2,306
Rancho Cucamonga
Might have had a pool going. They have a pool for when the car will go through the ice at my in-laws town in Wisconsin.

The only ice covered lakes I have ever seen are in movies. And in about 90% of those.. someone is going to fall thru the cracked ice into the lake and couldn't find a way back up. About 50% of those, the person drowned! If I ever seen a frozen lake.. I am NOT stepping onto it let alone driving on it! LOL.
 
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MorrisonHiker

Well-Known Member
Mar 8, 2015
10,244
9,967
Colorado
The only ice covered lakes I have ever seen are in movies. And in about 90% of those.. someone is going to fall thru the cracked ice into the lake and couldn't find a way back up. About 50% of those, the person drowned! If I ever seen a frozen lake.. I am NOT stepping onto it let alone driving on it! LOL.
At Georgetown Lake on Saturday, they measured the ice at 22 inches thick. There were dozens of cars racing around on the ice all day, including about a dozen Teslas. Fortunately, all of the cracks that I saw were all frozen solid and the only holes in the ice were where people were ice fishing.
 

ItsNotAboutTheMoney

Well-Known Member
Jul 12, 2012
10,888
8,587
Maine
At 8:00 in the evening of February 24, we noticed a bright light on the ice on the surface of Shelburne Bay on Lake Champlain. Through a telescope, we could see it was a vehicle, and it was burning really hard. We called 911 and my sons skied out to the scene to investigate. The fire had numerous small explosions, and in time, it was apparent that very little was left. Through a telescope, I suspected it was a side-by-side UTV, since no body panels were visible, and a roll cage structure was apparent through the flames. Firefighters arrived about 30 minutes later and told my kids it was a Tesla, and that the occupants had thankfully exited the vehicle.

When they got home and told me, I thought they were pulling my leg. But just to be sure, I checked in the garage to make sure my Model 3 was still safe and sound. The next morning I walked across the ice to look at the vehicle and found that yes, indeed, it was a Model X. It was fully burned, the body was pretty much gone. It makes it easy to see where the steel reinforcement is!

Does anyone on the forum know what happened? There was no coverage in the local news. I'm sure that some Model X owner is really upset about this. I'm curious to know if the fire was spontaneous, caused by some mechanical damage from hitting something, or from overheating due to wheelspin on the ice. Since I've watch a cop show or two in my day, I'm also thinking that it could be a stolen vehicle, but that seems unlikely.
View attachment 380685

I suspect a now-concerned arsonist.
 
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GreenMtnM3

Member
Feb 26, 2019
78
221
Burlington, Vermont
I've heard a TINY bit more about this. Apparently the driver was out ice fishing. I don't know if this driver was the owner, but I'd assume so, or that they were an authorized user. So this makes theft, insurance fraud or vandalism (ie an intentional burn) unlikely. What I still don't know is what caused the car to catch fire. There are a few other theories up here.

First, another local Model X owner was tooling around on the lake a few years ago in his new Model X, spinning and sliding and having a good time. The screen supposedly flashed a warning and told him to stop the car and exit the vehicle, as certain temperatures were too high. The car cooled down uneventfully and they headed home with no incident, hopefully just a bit wiser. I heard this 2nd hand, so I can't say its true. Perhaps the X (and possibly the S?), the older generation batteries, are susceptible to runaway overheating if too much wheelspin is allowed? This seems really unlikely though, as the software continues to be updated and I think Tesla errs way on the side of safety where battery temperature management is concerned. But its a possibility.

Second, a neighbor saw a bonfire a few hours before the Model X burned in the same general area. No car was present in the area at the time. Perhaps the Tesla drove over or parked on a smoldering bonfire? This also seems really unlikely. Its a big lake, and a fire would stand out pretty clearly on an expanse of ice.

So it remains a mystery. When I learn more, I'll post it. If anyone else finds out, please post too. Lets refrain from passing judgement. I'm sure one of our fellow Tesla owners is pretty darn bummed right now. They are also either pissed at Tesla if this was a car malfunction, or pissed at themselves, if they did something not-so-smart. In any case, lets show some sensitivity...
 
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jboy210

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Dec 2, 2016
5,469
3,468
Northern California
The only ice covered lakes I have ever seen are in movies. And in about 90% of those.. someone is going to fall thru the cracked ice into the lake and couldn't find a way back up. About 50% of those, the person drowned! If I ever seen a frozen lake.. I am NOT stepping onto it let alone driving on it! LOL.

People drive on them all the time in places. I skated on them for winter recreation. . But you always had to be careful about where the water was flowing. My in-laws lived on a river and down by the dam the ice went from thick to very thin in 10-20 feet. Step wrong and they fished you out of the lake downstream, in June.
 
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jboy210

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Dec 2, 2016
5,469
3,468
Northern California
At Georgetown Lake on Saturday, they measured the ice at 22 inches thick. There were dozens of cars racing around on the ice all day, including about a dozen Teslas. Fortunately, all of the cracks that I saw were all frozen over and the only holes in the ice were where people were ice fishing.


People don't ice fish on lakes. Those ice shacks are places they go to get away from their spouse and drink.:)
 

jboy210

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Dec 2, 2016
5,469
3,468
Northern California
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