Milford passes ordinance banning EV charging stations from underground parking garages

All but one of the city's 15 aldermen voted in favor of the ordinance. The fire safety ordinance may be the first in the country.

Tom Krosnowski and Rose Shannon

Feb 16, 2024, 1:51 PM

Updated 62 days ago


The City of Milford has passed an electric vehicle fire safety ordinance that may be the first in the country.
All but one of the city's 15 aldermen voted in favor of the ordinance, which bans electric vehicle charging stations from being built in underground parking garages. It also prohibits underground charging stations in new developments.
Deputy Fire Marshal Tim Suden say electric vehicles fires burn hotter and take significantly more water and time to put out than other vehicle fires.
"The concerns in the fire service about EVs in open and closed parking garages are increasing as a result of what has occurred in the United States and elsewhere in the world," Suden said.
Fire officials say as more parking options go underground, there is heightened risk of an electric vehicle fires.
"We are not looking to limit electric vehicles from underground parking garages. We are just trying to remove the charging portion of that, and bring it to the exterior structure," says Assistant Chief Chris Waiksnoris.
Firefighters stress the ordinance is not about taking electric vehicles off the road, but rather a public safety measure for fire crews, drivers and others.
About one-third of charging station fires happen while the car is plugged in or within one hour of disconnecting.
One of the main concerns for this push is the potential impact to connected building.
"Adding 20,000 gallons into an enclosed parking garage is probably going to flood all those other vehicles. If you put enough heat, and other products of combustion into an enclosed space, eventually, something's going to have to give and it's probably going to be the structure," says Waiksnoris.
Mayor Tony Giannattasio says developers are in favor of the ordinance.
Legislation passed in 2022 requires new developments to have charging stations in at at least 10% of its parking spaces, but Milford is looking to lead the way for a future amendment.
"We have reached out to the state and other local municipalities saying, 'Hey, this is what we did for our city, if it fits the demographics of your city, feel free to use this going forward," says Fire Marshal Stephen Rabel.

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