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Tesla’s Fremont Factory Fire Sparks Investigation

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A fire erupted at Tesla's vehicle assembly plant in Fremont, California, according to a statement from the Fremont Fire Department.

The department reported no injuries among employees and firefighters at the scene on Monday (May 20) afternoon.

An undisclosed number of firefighters responded to the blaze, which started before 5pm at the Tesla facility at 45500 Fremont Boulevard. 

The incident was classified as a two-alarm, commercial structure fire in a two-story building.

The fire originated in an oven used for vehicle manufacturing operations

As of Monday evening, the cause of the fire remained under investigation.

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Firefighters managed to "knock down" the fire within hours, and the crew was released by around 8pm.

The Fremont factory is Tesla's first mass EV manufacturing facility.

It also produces the company's popular Model 3 sedans, Model Y crossover utility vehicles, higher-end Model S sedans, and Model X SUVs with falcon-wing doors.

Tesla recently celebrated a milestone for its Fremont factory announcing it had surpassed the production of three million vehicles.

Monday’s fire occurred amidst recent layoffs at the Elon Musk-led automaker. 

Tesla recently cut 601 jobs in California, including 164 at the Fremont factory.

According to filings with the California Employment Development Division, the latest wave of layoffs in Fremont included two directors of Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) and several others involved in EHS, security, equipment maintenance, and emergency services.

Tesla’s Fremont factory has a history of fires, with incidents occurring from 2014 to 2018. 

In 2018 alone, there was a mix of indoor and outdoor fires and more in 2019 and 2021.

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These fires have sometimes led to pauses in production.

Tesla did not respond to a request for further information on Monday evening.

Local environmental regulators, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD), recently accused Tesla of allowing "unabated emissions" at the Fremont plant, stating that toxic air pollution should have been prevented.

The BAAQMD is seeking an abatement order to force Tesla to implement changes to prevent further pollution at its factory.

On Monday night, the BAAQMD emailed CNBC that it was "aware of the fire and assessing" the situation in Alameda County.

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