In May 2023, an electric car battery caught fire and caused a large fire at a U.S. warehouse full of electric cars.
The viral video did not show a fire at a U.S. warehouse. Instead, it showed a fire at a Pickles auction yard in Perth, Australia, that occurred on April 28, 2023. At the time of publication, there was no evidence electric vehicles were involved in the fire.
On May 7, 2023, a Facebook post claimed that a fire broke out at a U.S. warehouse full of electric cars after one electric car’s battery caught fire.
“In the USA, a fire broke out at a warehouse of electric cars that were waiting to be sold to clients when the battery of one of the cars started to burn,” the Facebook post said in Slovak. (We translated the post to English using Google Translate.)
At the time of publication, the video had 5.8 million views on Facebook. We also found posts about the claim, with the same Facebook video attached, on Twitter, as well as other Facebook posts repeating the claim that did not have the video attached.
The video did not show a fire at a U.S. warehouse. Instead, it showed a fire that occurred on April 28 at a Pickles auction yard in a suburb of Perth, Australia. According to credible Australian media sources, the fire destroyed dozens of cars, though none of those cars were reported to have been electric vehicles. According to The Guardian, Pickles is one of Australia’s biggest vehicle remarketing companies, and massive fires that destroyed dozens of cars have reportedly occurred at Pickles’ auction yards in the past.
“The cause of the incident at Bibra Lake is still to be determined by investigators,” a Pickles spokesperson told Snopes. “There were no EVs affected by the fire.”
We found a correctly captioned version of the video that had been posted to Facebook on April 28, as well as several other videos and pictures of the Perth fire. The post’s caption said, “Fire at Pickles Auction this evening. Was a wild sight! Amazing effort to fire fighters tackling the beast to get the out of control under control.”
The name attached to this Facebook account was Jacey Knowles. The images were credited to Knowles by The Guardian in its article about the fire, and she was interviewed for the story.
Levy, Megan. “Fire Destroys 100 Vehicles at Pickles Auctions Car Yard.” The Sydney Morning Herald, 5 Jan. 2016, https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/fire-destroys-100-vehicles-at-pickles-auctions-at-milperra-20160106-gm02i2.html.
Log in or Sign up to View. https://www.facebook.com/login/. Accessed 25 May 2023.
May, Natasha. “Giant Blaze Destroys 60 Vehicles at Pickles Auction Yard in Perth.” The Guardian, 29 Apr. 2023. The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2023/apr/29/giant-blaze-destroys-60-vehicles-at-pickles-auction-yard-in-perth.
Meacham, Savannah. “Fire Erupts at Car Auction Yard in Perth.” 9News.com.au, 29 Apr. 2023, https://www.9news.com.au/national/car-auction-yard-fire-bibra-lake-western-australia/cb369a92-bad0-46e7-9dc2-47cc4a0590fa.
Weber, David. “Blaze destroys dozens of cars in Pickles Auctions car yard in Bibra Lake.” ABC News, 28 Apr. 2023. www.abc.net.au, https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-04-28/major-blaze-at-perth-car-yard-auction-house/102281786.
Izz Scott LaMagdeleine