I was aboard the MV Tellus in June, 2001, en-route to Europe. Three days out of Charleston, SC, the fire alarm sounded. I, and a fellow U.S. Army soldier took our station on the bridge (as we were considered passengers and our mission was to escort 20 M-1 tanks to Bremerhaven, Germany (our final destination)). We watched as the whole crew fought the fire centered on the port quarter, first level down. It took some time, but the fire was taken under control. The next day, the third mate explained that we were very close to abandoning ship because the carbon dioxide system was not working as it should, and the chief engineer was on satellite phone back to United States asking the fire suppression experts what to do. He did get it working, thankfully, and we sailed directly to Bremerhaven, Germany where forensics determined that the fire was started by one vehicle. 125 vehicles either burned completely, or were smoke damaged.
There’s some selection bias going on with regards to the perception of the severity of the average car hold fire. The fires like the one on the M/V Tellus don’t get as widely reported in the news media as much as the big fires do.
That said, the difficulty in controlling and putting out an EV fire has evidently changed the situation