Update @ 5;25 p.m. July 16, 2008: First, thanks to everyone for all the kind comments regarding the team's little mishap. The great news is that at last report, Solar Miner VI has an outside chance of reaching Sioux Falls tonight. The team members have pulled together to show how they can overcome adversity and continue to focus on the goal of running the race.
Below is an audio interview with Ray Luechtefeld, an assistant professor of engineering management and one of the team's advisors, from this morning's Omaha stop.
An electrical fire caused by overcharged batteries gave members of the Missouri S&T Solar Car Team a scare early this morning. But all team members are OK, and Solar Miner VI was scheduled to resume its participation in the North American Solar Challenge this morning.
The Missouri S&T team was spending the night in the basement of a Nebraska City, Neb., home and charging a set of auxiliary lithium ion batteries when the smoke detector went off at about 1:15 a.m. today. Team members called 911 and team safety officer Letha Young, a member of the Missouri S&T police department traveling with the team, retrieved a fire extinguisher from the team’s trailer. Young and other team members extinguished the fire before the Nebraska City Volunteer Fire Department arrived on the scene.
Six team members were taken to St. Mary’s Community Hospital in Nebraska City and evaluated for smoke inhalation. All six were released, and the team was set to resume the race at 8:08 a.m. from Auburn, Neb., in hopes of reaching Sioux Falls, S.D., by the end of the day.
Team members also notified race officials of the situation.
The fire occurred in the basement of the home of Bryan Kreifels of Nebraska City. Damage to the structure and contents amounted to $6,000, according to the fire department.
The batteries were used to power an on-board computer system that monitors the vehicle’s performance. The batteries were not part of the main battery pack that is powered by the vehicle’s solar cells.