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Tesla’s Gigafactory in Berlin had a cardboard fire

Tesla’s Gigafactory in Berlin had a cardboard fire


Why the recycling materials went ablaze is unknown, but it’s enough for local groups to get fired up again about environmental dangers the factory poses.

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Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Tesla’s dealing with the aftermath of a fire on the grounds of its Gigafactory in Berlin early this morning. According to local reporting, Tesla’s factory fire brigade called for the assistance of local firefighters at 3:33AM, and more than 50 firefighters were involved in helping to extinguish a large burning pile of cardboard, paper, and wood (via Electrek).

The fire occurred on the northeastern side of the property near a recycling facility. Tesla reportedly has a contracted recycling company that shreds materials there, but the cause of the fire remains unknown.

“We demand a production stop until the causes and circumstances have been clarified”

Local groups in Germany that have long opposed Tesla’s factory due to environmental concerns are using the fire as fuel to their cause. “Our worst fears have come true. We demand a production stop until the causes and circumstances have been clarified and all safety-related measures in the water protection area have been implemented,” said citizens’ initiative Grünheide representative Steffen Schorcht.

This isn’t Tesla’s first blazing cardboard problem. Earlier this year, cardboard palettes in the parking lot of the automaker’s Fremont, California, factory caught fire, causing a two-alarm blaze. And in 2019, Tesla was fined by the EPA for not properly cleaning highly flammable paints and solvent mixtures and was required to outfit the factory with upgraded emergency response equipment by the Fremont Fire Department.

Burning cardboard isn’t Tesla’s only fiery headache as of late. Last week, the automaker had to deal with a Megapack battery fire at utility company PG&E’s battery storage facility in California.

Tesla’s Gigafactory Berlin opened earlier this year and has a target to build 500,000 vehicles a year. In 2020, there were delays in its construction due to residents concerned about water contamination and the deforestation required to build it. The factory had also reportedly been a target of possible arson in 2021.