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Tesla: Accident Caused Third Model S Fire

By Daniel Sparks - Nov 7, 2013 at 12:41PM

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Driver of Tesla Model S not injured. Police say car struck a tow hitch.

A third Model S fire occurred in Tennessee this week. Tesla Motors ( TSLA -6.42% ) spokeswoman Elizabeth Jarvis-Shean confirmed the fire with this statement this morning.

We have been in contact with the driver, who was not injured and believes the car saved his life. Our team is on its way to Tennessee to learn more about what happened in the accident. We will provide more information when we're able to do so.

The fire was not spontaneous and was, in fact, the result of an accident, according to Tesla. The blaze on Wednesday afternoon engulfed the front of the car. A spokeswoman for the Tennessee Highway Patrol said the Model S was headed east on Interstate 24 when it ran over a tow hitch. The hitch hit the undercarriage of the car, causing an electrical fire.

The previous two fires occurred in October, both the result of accidents. Tesla said previously that the first fire was caused when the Model S struck a metal object. The second fire reportedly started after the driver smashed through a concrete wall and into a tree.

After the first fire, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration took a look and said it "has not found evidence at this time that would indicate the recent battery fire involving a Tesla Model S was the result of a vehicle safety defect or non-compliance with federal safety standards."

Tesla's stock is down 7% today, likely in reaction to the Model S fire. It's been nearly three months since shares have reached levels this low. The stock is down about 28% from its all-time high of $194.50 just over a month ago.

-- Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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