3 Workers Injured In Accident At Fremont Tesla Factory, CEO Speaks Out

FREMONT (CBS SF) – Three workers were sent to the hospital with burns following an industrial accident at the Tesla Motors factory in Fremont on Wednesday.

Just after noon, Chopper 5 captured images of fire trucks on the scene and at least one ambulance was seen leaving the area.

The Fremont Fire Department confirmed that the incident, originally reported as a fire, was a workplace accident. Spokesman Dan Cardenas said there was no fire or explosion, but the three patients were treated for serious to moderate burns.

According to a statement from Tesla Motors spokeswoman Elizabeth Jarvis-Shean, “There was a failure in a low pressure aluminum casting press. Three employees were injured by hot metal from that press. We are making sure that they receive the best possible care.”

Cardenas said the workers were transported to Valley Medical Center in San Jose. Two of the three employees were taken to the hospital’s burn unit.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk arrived at the hospital Wednesday night to visit the injured workers. “I just wanted to make sure that they were OK, and getting the best possible care. I wanted to come personally and make sure of it,” Musk said to reporters.

Musk identified the employees injured as Jorge, Kevin and Jesus, but did not release their last names. He said the employees seemed to be in good spirits, all things considered. Jorge and Kevin suffered minor injuries.

“In the case of Jesus, his hands were burnt pretty badly. So it’s not clear what the recovery is going to be. So we want to have that recovery as much as possible, so we’ll do everything we can on that front,” Musk said.

Referring to the accident, the CEO said, “We had an equipment malfunction and our low pressure aluminum die casting operation. So it spilled essentially molten aluminum and that was the issue.”

Cardenas said Tesla has had a good track record and that this is the first incident that he’s heard of where they’ve had an accident that involved a few employees.

The electric car maker, headquartered in Palo Alto, has faced recent questions about safety after three Model S sedans were badly damaged in recent fires.

“I do think there seems to be I think honestly just a bit too much attention paid to Tesla, good and bad,” Musk said. “There are a lot of terrible things that happen in accidents, so it seems like maybe we get an unusual amount of attention at Tesla, no matter what it is.”

One of the workers has been released from the hospital as of Wednesday night.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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