A fire occurred inside an engineering lab at the GM Milford Proving Grounds in Michigan over the weekend.
General Motors is now investigating the cause of the fire. According to a report from Detroit Free Press, which cites a statement by Brighton Area Fire Authority Chief Mike O’Brian, the fire started on Sunday around 6:30 a.m. local time.
GM’s fire brigade was the first to notice smoke coming from the building and called 911. Brighton and Milford firefighters responded and were able to quickly extinguish the blaze. According to O’Brian, the fire was largely extinguished by the building’s sprinkler system by the time firefighters arrived on the scene.
“It was a vehicle that started the fire,” O’Brian said. “How it started? We don’t know that. That’s under investigation. There were no injuries. There was smoke throughout the structure and we worked with GM to get the smoke evacuated.”
Employees are expected to return to work at the lab later this week.
According to GM spokeswoman Maria Raynal, the fire was related to the “12V system” on a “development vehicle.” However, although the automaker declined to specify whether the development vehicle in question was all-electric or an internal combustion engine, Fire Chief O’Brian did recently make a statement to WWJ Newsradio 950 outlining the hazards of EV development, saying “You’re gonna see a lot more events that when there’s a fire involving an electrified vehicle or an energy stored system. You’re going to see a lot more protection of the exposures in allowing the fire event to burn itself out or to consume itself.”
The GM Milford Proving Ground first opened in 1924 as the industry’s first dedicated automobile test facility, and now includes 4,800 staff and 142 buildings, as well as 132 miles of test roads.
Recently, General Motors was faced with a lawsuit levied against the automaker by Milford residents accusing GM of contaminating the local drinking water.