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November 20, 2019

Tesla supercharger station not responsible for fire at Wawa in New Jersey

Fires Tesla
Tesla fire wawa Thom Carroll/for PhillyVoice

A Tesla Supercharger went up in flames at a Wawa store in Parsippany, New Jersey on Nov. 17, 2019. Tesla's Superchargers are used to power its electric vehicles, whose growing popularity has required expansion of the company's network of charging stations worldwide.

A Tesla Supercharger caught fire at a Wawa in northern New Jersey last Sunday, temporarily raising some concern about the safety of the company's electric vehicle charging stations.

The incident occurred at the Wawa located at 350 New Road in Parsippany, where store employees and neighbors saw flames coming from the station. Images of smoke emanating from the station were later shared on social media.

It was later determined that the Tesla station was not responsible for the fire, according to Automotive News. 

Matthew Palmeiri, an employee of Parsippany-Troy Hills Fire Department District 5, said the issue was caused by a Jersey Central Power & Light transformer. 

"No vehicles were involved; it wasn’t the charging stations at all," Palmeiri said. "It was a separate onsite transformer that sends power from JCP&L to the charging stations… Nothing to do really with the charging stations."

Tesla has installed nearly 15,000 of these individual, 480-volt DC fast-charging stations at locations around the country. With the expanding popularity of Tesla's Model S, X and 3 vehicles, the company has responded to pressure for wider availability of superchargers.

Wawa currently has 16 Tesla Superchargers installed among all of the chain's U.S. locations, and the store recently announced plans to expand to 30 charging stations in 2020.

A Wawa official told CNBC the fire did not effect the store and no one was injured.

"Tesla had an issue with their cabinet and the power has been shut off while they are investigating," the Wawa spokesperson said. "Our store was unaffected as it is on a completely separate power line."