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Overnight Fire at Gruber Motors in Arizona

Tesla family and friends,
I have some sad news to report about our friends at Gruber motors in Phoenix. I was scheduled to pick up my car there today after it had been in for service. I received an email message from Gruber early in the morning that unfortunately they had had a fire at their shop and that while my car was OK because it was parked outside, my key has been destroyed in the fire. They wanted to make sure I had a spare key in order to pick up the car. I assumed it must’ve been a relatively small fire given that they were taking the time to confirm that I was still coming to pick up the car today and had the spare key. When I went to pick up the car this afternoon, though, I was shocked to see what had happened at the Gruber facility. Sadly, it looks as if much of the building’s interior and workshop has been destroyed. The roof seemed to be entirely gone, and there was a large team of people doing hazardous materials cleanup (I assume because of the batteries and other electrical components that had burned in the fire.)

I don’t know much else at this time, although I did have a brief conversation with Peter Gruber by phone today in order to coordinate my car pick up. He sounded understandably exhausted but was still as customer-focused as ever. He told me that they had not determined the cause of the fire yet. While my car was covered in a light coating of ash when I picked it up today, it was otherwise undamaged and all the issues I had asked them to fix had been addressed - for a fraction of what the local Tesla SC had quoted for the repairs, as usual.

The entire Gruber team has been such a blessing to the growing community of owners of older Teslas who increasingly rely on their services for working on post-warranty cars, especially Roadsters and early Model S vehicles like mine. Every time I have worked with them, I have thought about how thankful I am to have their talented team as a resource here in the Phoenix Valley. They are passionate about what they do and are true advocates of helping Tesla succeed in their mission of converting the world to sustainable energy vehicles. This fire is going to be a setback for them, but I certainly hope they are able to recover and get back to work on their mission quickly.

For those of you who have worked with the Gruber family, especially to other Tesla owners here in Arizona, I wanted to share this news in hopes that you might reach out to Pete and the Gruber family to voice your support and wish them a speedy recovery. Gruber Motors has been a model of the “service center of the future” and we need their passion and energy as much as ever, now that EVs are finally really beginning to sell in huge numbers.

Best wishes for a speedy recovery, Gruber team! Tell us how we can help you!
 

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They had a lot of Roadsters and irreplaceable parts in there. I sure hope most everything survived.
I couldn’t see directly into the building when I was picking up my car (it had been moved to the street in front), but from what I could see through the front windows, it didn’t look like there was much left inside. So tragic. Hopefully it’s not as bad as it looked.
 
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MP3Mike

Well-Known Member
Feb 1, 2016
17,270
41,915
Oregon
This isn't the first fire they have had:


Last time it was when "the workers at Gruber were attempting an experimental repair on one of the Roadsters, when something went wrong."
 
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414RA

Member
Supporting Member
Dec 3, 2018
8
33
Atlanta, GA
I had just landed to make a planned visit Monday to discuss refurbs and upgrades with Pete and I took his call to hear
that there would be none. The fire had taken out everything. So now the Monday morning meeting is an insurance loss meeting and no fun. The little Roadster had just been the lead car in the Guinness World Record longest Tesla only parade down the 400 expressway in Atlanta with 341 Teslas behind.
 

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Watts_Up

Active Member
Mar 4, 2019
3,877
2,839
In a galaxy far, far away
This isn't the first fire they have had:


Last time it was when "the workers at Gruber were attempting an experimental repair on one of the Roadsters, when something went wrong."
I wonder if workshop buildings for EVs, especially when working around the battery, should be designed with separated boths.
And each both having some kind of firewall protection all around, and may be sprinklers specially designed for electrical fires like in a computer server room?
This would help to contain the fire in one location and protect the full building.

I live in an apartment building where there was a fire last winter in one unit caused by a gas heater.
Everything in the room burned, but the sheetwalls were able to protect the other rooms and also the full building, until the firemans came.
 

MP3Mike

Well-Known Member
Feb 1, 2016
17,270
41,915
Oregon
I wonder if workshop buildings for EVs, especially when working around the battery, should be designed with separated boths.

Yes, they should have any batteries they are working on in a separate fire "safe" room. This is mainly because a lot of what they are doing is "experimental" and very risky.

Of course we don't know what caused this fire. It could have been any number of things.
 
The most dangerous work might be a level 1 recovery where the pack remains inside the car and is being tried to charge again with "outside" current. EV Mix Nielsen eg wrote to me that he won't perform this kind of operation now anymore rather than taking the pack out of the car and then trying to recover it.
First time Gruber burned down it was exactly this level 1 recovery and a parasitic cell going bezerk during the weekend.. Might be the same story again (weekend, seems like nobody is watching the displays for current going up from one to the other second...) but I don't want to jump to conclusions. Carl Medlock offered help to all Owners having lost their car dealing with insurances / evaluation and so on. At the end of the road it might be a good idea (Elon?! r u reading this??!!) to speed up pack 3.0 MKII production and get the price into a "affordable" range...
whoever lost his car in the fire, I feel for you buddy! For me it's not just a car, it has become an icon, something I cherish and love (I know, one shouldn't love things... but prove me wrong...)
 

FlatSix911

Porsche 918 Hybrid
Jun 15, 2015
7,211
7,323
Silicon Valley
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stopcrazypp

Well-Known Member
Dec 8, 2007
11,367
6,522
Ouch, I feel for all the Tesla owners that lost their cars. Inside EVs says it's an electrical panel fire this time:
Fire Strikes Gruber Motors, Over 30 Tesla Roadsters Burn To A Crisp

Question I immediately had was given the first fire, was the building sprinklered? If not and they decide to rebuild, I would hope they have a sprinkler system and have ways to prevent cars to be close enough to have fire jump to each other. It doesn't necessarily even have to be a booth for each car, just isolating it into smaller units (even like 2-3 cars per area) would reduce the risk of damage. And something like a false wall or booth (with a ceiling) may be a fairly cost effective way to do that (two layers of 5/8" type X drywall on each side of a common 2x4 stud wall is enough to make a 2 hour wall).
 

guerraje

New Member
Feb 4, 2020
3
2
Austin, TX
I feel saddened by the news. 3 weeks ago my car was shipped back to me from their shop to my house after a motor swap. The service I received from them was incredible and the work they do for those Tesla owners who look for alternatives outside of Tesla SCs is invaluable. I have so much gratitude for Pete and his Gruber Tesla family. My heart aches for them and for all Tesla owners who have experienced the amazing service they provide.
 

im4uttx

Member
Supporting Member
May 28, 2019
399
282
Spicewood, TX
Ouch, I feel for all the Tesla owners that lost their cars. Inside EVs says it's an electrical panel fire this time:
Fire Strikes Gruber Motors, Over 30 Tesla Roadsters Burn To A Crisp

Question I immediately had was given the first fire, was the building sprinklered? If not and they decide to rebuild, I would hope they have a sprinkler system and have ways to prevent cars to be close enough to have fire jump to each other. It doesn't necessarily even have to be a booth for each car, just isolating it into smaller units (even like 2-3 cars per area) would reduce the risk of damage. And something like a false wall or booth (with a ceiling) may be a fairly cost effective way to do that (two layers of 5/8" type X drywall on each side of a common 2x4 stud wall is enough to make a 2 hour wall).
Per one of the latest messages over on the roadster forum, no, the building was not sprinkler fitted since it was "grandfathered" and saved GMC $400,000 by not having to add the system. If this is true, then it seems pretty irresponsible, imo...especially the following:
Why take a building not equipped with sprinklers and stuff ~30 roadsters that are as Pete mentioned above "far more volatile and once ignited. become virtually impossible to extinguish" into that space?
 

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