BREAKING: Explosion At General Motors Tech Center Battery Lab Injures Two [Photos]

Illustration for article titled BREAKING: Explosion At General Motors Tech Center Battery Lab Injures Two [Photos]

WXYZ, the local Detroit ABC affiliate, reports that there has been an explosion at a battery lab facility on the campus of GM's Technical Center in Warren. Two people have been injured and were taken to nearby hospitals and all employees have been evacuated from that building.


The Warren Fire Department reports that there was a lithium battery explosion at a lab on campus — no word yet on whether it was a Chevy Volt battery but the risk of battery fires in post-crash Chevrolet Volts was recently investigated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and GM Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson testified before the federal agency. But, NHTSA closed the investigation in January and released a finding showing no safety issues.

The Detroit News has the following statement from GM:

"We're aware of an incident this morning at one of our labs at the GM Tech Center that required a fire and emergency response," said GM spokesman Greg Martin. "All employees are accounted for, and we're trying to learn more details and we'll share them when we can."

UPDATE: One Jalopnik commenter tells us:

This is the same building where I work. The explosion was down the hall from my lab about 200 feet. I have a friend that works in the battery lab, hopefully he's alright and not one of the injured ones. I will provide details as I learn them.

But thanks to the sheer size of the mile-long complex, some, like those in design, didn't hear a thing, as another Jalopnik commenter replied back:

damn, im in design, didn't even hear about this the building where they do weather testing also?


If you were also on scene at GM's Warren Tech Center at the time of the explosion, share your stories in the comments below and we'll pull them up here to highlight what you saw, heard and experienced.

UPDATE 2: The Detroit Free Press now says:

A woman working in a battery research laboratory was taken to St. John Hospital and Medical Center in Detroit, Warren Fire Commissioner Wilburt (Skip) McAdams said.

"She is conscious; she's in a lot of pain. She's a ‘Priority 2,' which means she has life-threatening injuries," McAdams said.

GM said in a statement that five people were "being evaluated on scene by medical personnel." GM spokesman Greg Martin declined to call it an explosion.

Smoke throughout the multi-lab building forced the evacuation of about 80 workers. A Free Press reporter this morning was denied access to the facility, which is subject to intense security due to the proprietary nature of product development.

GM released a statement at 11 a.m. saying the incident was "unrelated to the Chevrolet Volt or any other production vehicle."


Photo Credit: Local 4 News


Before this post is done, it will contain a ranting, irrational, and yet completely serious comment that includes some of all of the following elements:

1) Battery technology is unsafe and not ready

2) Hybrids are a load of crap

3) The Volt is an inherently dangerous piece of crap that catches fire and that nobody wants

4) UAW workers are morons and should stop drinking on the job

5) GM should never have been bailed out

6) GM should never have killed the EV1

7) Fuck GM because I said so

Mark my words. You heard it here first.

With that being said, my thoughts are with the injured employees. That's a pretty shitty way to start the day.