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At 8:30 a.m. Thursday, crews were still cleaning up debris from the traffic light falling and burned gas pumps. (Austonia)

A teen driver in a Tesla Model X crashed into a traffic light and gas pump at a West Austin gas station early Thursday morning, knocking over the traffic light and setting the parking lot in flames.

The driver, a male under 18 years of age, who was determined by onsite police to be driving the $80,000 electric vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, was able to escape the car before it erupted in flames.

Austin police said they responded to the crash at 1:22 a.m. at a Shell gas station in Tarrytown, 2701 Exposition Blvd. The Austin Fire Department was able to get the fire under control by around 2 a.m. after cooling the electric car's extremely flammable lithium battery, according to Fire Chief Thaier Smith.

Crews were cleaning up after the light signal was knocked down and the gas pumps were burned.

"From a previous experience from other departments around the country and the state, we are aware of the issues when a Tesla burns," Smith said. "There are some other procedures. Normally you can put out a car fire with 500 to 1,000 gallons of water, but Tesla's may take up to 30,000-40,000 gallons of water, maybe even more, to extinguish the battery pack once it starts burning."

The driver was arrested for a DWI.

While the gas station building itself did not sustain damage, there was fire damage to the gas pump and a knocked over traffic light signal. Crews were seen cleaning up into 8 a.m. this morning.


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