VIDEO: Hybrid into house

080811-pmk-lexus130.jpgWhen emergency officials respond to the scene of a crash, one of the first steps taken is to safely disconnect a vehicles battery.
However, recent advances in technology and configuration have caused some manufacturers to situate a vehicles battery in locations other than the traditional engine compartment.
“With all cars, gas or hybrid, the battery can be anywhere, from the rear seat to the rear cargo area to under the hood”, said Eric Strittmatter, captain of the Hellam Township Fire Company. Youll even find them under the front fender”.
Droid X video mixed with stills







When emergency officials respond to the scene of a crash, one of the first steps taken is to safely disconnect a vehicles battery.
However, recent advances in technology and configuration have caused some manufacturers to situate a vehicles battery in locations other than the traditional engine compartment.
“With all cars, gas or hybrid, the battery can be anywhere, from the rear seat to the rear cargo area to under the hood”, said Eric Strittmatter, captain of the Hellam Township Fire Company. Youll even find them under the front fender”.
Shortly after 8 a.m. Monday, Strittmatter and his fellow firefighters had to search for two batteries after they responded to a home in 400 block of Carriage Lane in Hellam Township where a Lexus hybrid had struck the structure.
The owner of the Lexus, who was not at wheel at the time of the crash, was later transported to an area hospital.
Strittmatter said that the driver got out of the Lexus, which was not properly in gear.
As a result, the car rolled into the home, he said.
No one in the house was injured, Strittmatter said.
The county’s trench rescue team also was called to ensure the stability of the house as they extracted the car, he said.
The team assessed the structure before and after the vehicle was removed and they deemed that the structure was sound.
Once at the scene, fire officials quickly searched for the cars battery and, when they couldnt find one, the responders turned to the owners manual.
Since the Lexus was a hybrid, the officials had to disconnect two batteries, one that runs the electrical system and the other that is used to propel the car, Strittmatter said.
“This time, (the high voltage battery) happened to be under the rear seat, and the secondary … battery was also in the trunk, but it was hidden behind three layers of plastic in a corner, so those two were the most difficult to find,” he said.
Strittmatter said that training classes regarding hybrids are available for emergency responders.
“But technology changes so rapidly,” he said. “Also, no two car wrecks are the same. You might have a wreck that involves a regular gas car and it can take a hour and another one with a hybrid that can take five minutes. It all depends on how they wreck.

About Paul Kuehnel


Paul Kuehnel
has worked for the York Daily Record/Sunday News since 1984.

Follow him on Twitter @paulkuehnel.

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