West Wing Actress Flames Tesla When Husband’s Car Catches Fire

Mary McCormack tweeted a video of her husband’s Tesla that caught fire.

byJustin Hughes|
Electric Vehicles photo

Tesla is under fire by West Wing actress Mary McCormack, who tweeted a video of her husband's car shooting flames on Friday.

"This is what happened to my husband and his car today," tweeted McCormack. "No accident, out of the blue, in traffic on Santa Monica Blvd." The video shows flames shooting rapidly out of the driver's side of the car below the driver's seat. McCormack's husband, producer/director Michael Morris, was not hurt in the fire, reports ABC News

Internet speculation immediately suspected another Autopilot-feature failure, some of which have led to high-profile crashes such as one car that drove into a pond and another where a Model X suddenly steered into a highway barrier. But McCormack was quick to say that Autopilot technology was not involved in this crash.

"It wasn’t a Tesla with auto pilot or whatever. It was a normal Tesla," tweeted McCormack. She added, "He was barely moving in traffic. Totally aware."

Police Lt. Dan Nagelmann, from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, confirmed to ABC News that the cause of the fire was either a battery or mechanical issue and that there was no collision.

"This is an extraordinarily unusual occurrence, and we are investigating the incident to find out what happened," a Tesla spokesperson told The Drive. "Our initial investigation shows that the cabin of the vehicle was totally unaffected by the fire due to our battery architecture, which is designed to protect the cabin in the very rare event that a battery fire occurs. While our customer had time to safely exit the car, we are working to understand the cause of the fire. We’re glad our customer is safe."

There are no known issues with Teslas catching fire on their own, not related to an accident. Indeed, the fact that Teslas run on electricity rather than flammable gasoline in itself helps to reduce the risk of fire. Tesla says that based on the size of its fleet and the number of miles it has traveled, a Tesla vehicle is at least 10 times less likely to experience a fire than a gas car.

While spontaneous combustion is extremely rare, it does happen occasionally across all manufacturers. Last week the Center for Auto Safety called on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to investigate Hyundai and Kia for a significantly higher than average number of non-accident related fires.

Meanwhile, General Motors spokesman Ray Wert tweeted that GM has offered to loan McCormack an electric Chevy Bolt "so she has a more dependable electric vehicle to drive." Talk about feeling the burn.