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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.

"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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