Small fire at Rivian plant


The Rivian Automotive Assembly Plant in Normal, Illinois was evacuated for a short time Tuesday as a precaution following a small fire which ignited in an automated battery assembly area. Damage was negligible and no one was injured.


Normal firefighters responded to the report of a fire in the battery assembly area just after 5:00 p.m. Tuesday. Firefighters located a small fire in an automated battery sub-assembly area and used a hose line to extinguish the fire quickly and cool the cells to prevent thermal runaway.


There was minimal smoke which was ventilated from the building using the HVAC system and exhaust fans, and the employees were allowed to return to the building after a short time. Plant maintenance and cleaning staff were working to clean up the water and return the plant to regular operations. There was no damage to the plant building itself and the assembly process was unaffected.


A battery sub-module is one of several sub-modules which are assembled to create a full vehicle battery pack, which is what powers the completed vehicle. The battery sub-module is about the size of a briefcase.


Bloomington Fire Department was requested for a Rapid Intervention Team and off-duty Normal Firefighters were recalled to their stations, but both were released once the scope of the incident was realized. Normal Fire Department cleared the scene and returned to service at around 7:00 p.m.

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