Fire burns lithium batteries at Beta Technologies
A shipping container holding lithium batteries near the South Burlington headquarters of electric aviation startup Beta Technologies caught fire last week. No one was injured and no other property was damaged in the blaze, according to the company.
Crews from the South Burlington and the Vermont Air National Guard responded to the fire in the early morning hours on Friday. Flames from the burning batteries rose over 20 feet into the air, according to an incident report from the South Burlington Fire Department.
Responders were able to put out the fire within 30 minutes, but smoke carried into the surrounding neighborhood. One nearby resident described the smoke as smelling like "burning electronics."
In a written statement, a Beta spokesperson said the company considers the health and safety of the community "paramount," and says it will take all precautions to "minimize impacts and mitigate risks." The company said its “response plans and safety precautions” worked effectively, and it is investigating the cause of the fire.
Beta has raised over $800 million to date from investors to build an electric aircraft. It recently signed a 75-year lease with the City of Burlington to build a 355,000-square-foot manufacturing facility on the grounds of the Burlington airport. The company expects to be delivering its aircraft to customers in two years, pending approval from the Federal Aviation Administration.