Tesla's oldest factory ignites another headline by catching fire

Fremont: Come for the toxic fumes and discrimination, stay for marshmallows?

A "two-alarm commercial fire" broke out yesterday at the Tesla factory in Fremont, California.

The Fremont Fire Department said in a post on X that the fire began "inside an oven," though the type of oven involved wasn't immediately clear. The blaze was significant enough to cause at least some apparent damage to the exterior of the factory, and local news said smoke could be seen "for miles."

Firefighters said the flames were put out within a couple of hours, and that there were no reports of injuries. The cause is still under investigation.

Given the external damage to the factory, it's not clear whether production will resume today, or if the fire will necessitate repairs. Tesla didn't respond to questions for this story. 

If knocked offline, it'd be the second Tesla facility to be taken down due to fire damage recently. An alleged arson attack took the Berlin gigafactory offline in March, but the facility itself was not damaged. Instead, anti-Tesla eco-activists sabotaged a nearby power substation, affecting local power supply. The attack also knocked out power to tens of thousands of nearby homes and businesses.

Tesla's oldest factory continues to create headlines

Tesla Fremont, which began life in 1962 as a General Motors assembly plant, has been a hotbed of trouble for Tesla since it took over the site in 2010 as its first production facility.

There have been numerous alleged – as well as settledallegations of racial discrimination at the Fremont plant. Beyond that, Tesla's now being sued in California courts for violating the US Clean Air Act with emissions from the facility. The Bay Area Air Quality Management District has separately requested an abatement order to address "frequent and ongoing violations" of clean air laws at the Fremont plant's paint shop.

According to the district, Tesla has been given 112 violation notices since 2019. Each violation can involve the emission of as much as 750 lbs (340 kg) of illegal air pollution.

Oh, and Fremont has a history of catching alight, with multiple indoor and outdoor fires having been reported over the years. It's not clear if the fire is related in any way to the regular emission of chemicals from the paint shop, some of which could very well be flammable. 

The Fremont Fire Department told The Register that it didn't yet have insight into the nature of the fire and had nothing new to share at the time of writing. ®

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