B.C. Tesla driver kicks out window to escape car fire

Firefighters are investigating the cause of a dangerous fire that briefly trapped a Vancouver-area man inside a Tesla.

Jamil Jutha said he was driving towards Mountain Highway in North Vancouver at 10 a.m. Friday when the 2021 Model Y that he purchased just eight months ago suddenly shut down and lost power to all the electronic components.

"The doors wouldn't open. The windows wouldn't go down,” Jutha said.

With toxic smoke beginning to fill the cabin through the air vents, Jutha began to panic and quickly made the decision to break his way out of the car.

"Of course, there's always going to be panic in a moment when you feel trapped,” he said. "I kicked through the window, climbed out and called 911 right away."

Once safely outside, he asked some construction workers from a nearby job site to help him direct traffic around the burning car because he feared the battery might explode.

The fire eventually made its way into the interior of the car with visible flames shooting up in the air as the fire department arrived to put it out.

"We're very fortunate that this individual had the wherewithal and the strength to kick the window out,” said Chief Brian Hutchinson, with the District of North Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services.

Fire investigators are set to examine the vehicle on Tuesday to try to determine a cause before handing the wreck over to ICBC.

Under normal circumstances, the doors on a Tesla Model Y open electronically with the touch of a button.

There is a mechanical release available for use in an emergency but Jutha said it is not entirely intuitive and can be difficult to figure out in an urgent situation.

The entire section of the door which has the window control switches on it is actually a lever that lifts up to open the door in situations where the car has lost power.

Jutha hopes his experience will encourage other Tesla owners to familiarize themselves with the feature before they find themselves in a situation where they really need it.

CTV News reached out to Tesla for comment on the situation but the company did not respond.

Jutha’s car is likely a write-off and he says another Tesla is not on his shortlist as he shops for a replacement.