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Tesla Model S Plaid catches fire and briefly traps owner, NHTSA plans to investigate

This Model S Plaid was in the first batch of high-performance electric sedans.

Tesla Model S Plaid fire
Thankfully, the owner escaped the fire.
Geragos & Geragos

A Tesla Model S Plaid burst into flames near Philadelphia on Tuesday, trapping the car's owner inside before he managed to escape. CNBC first reported on the fire Thursday after confirming a local fire department responded to the scene.

Photos provided show the Model S Plaid's cabin melted and nearly burnt from the top down, and according to the Post, badging photos confirmed the vehicle is one of the new Plaid models. CEO Elon Musk showed off the first batch of cars at an event last month.

Tesla Model S Plaid fire

The owner's lawyer stated smoke first came from the rear of the car.

Geragos & Geragos

According to the report, citing the driver's lawyer, the man noticed smoke coming from the back of the Model S Plaid before he tried exiting the car. The locks appeared to malfunction, according to the driver's attorney, but he was able to "force his way out of the vehicle." One of the driver's lawyers, Mike Geragos of Geragos & Geragos, told Roadshow in a statement, "This is a harrowing and frightening situation and an obvious major problem. Our preliminary investigation is ongoing, but we call on Tesla to sideline these cars until a full investigation can occur." Tesla does not operate a public relations department to field requests for comment.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration told Roadshow in a statement it's aware of the fire. "The agency is in touch with relevant agencies and the manufacturer to gather information about the incident. If data or investigations show a defect or an inherent risk to safety exists, NHTSA will take action as appropriate to protect the public."

The EV was first transported to a secure facility before the owner removed it for an independent investigation to examine the cause of the fire. 

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