Safety Advocates Call for Investigation as Mysterious BMW Fires Continue
In spite of continued reports of parked BMWs bursting into flames, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) doesn’t have an active investigation into the possible causes. According to an ABC News report, so far, consumers have filed more than 90 complaints about the issue to NHTSA including 30 since ABC News first brought the issue to the public’s attention, prompting safety advocates to call for a federal probe.
Jason Levine who heads the Center for Auto Safety says NHTSA is failing in its obligation to protect consumers. He said the BMWs have had fire-related problems for a “very long time.” The automaker is not getting the bottom of the issue and NHTSA hasn’t bothered to follow up, Levine said. BMW has said the car fires could result from a variety of “external reasons” not related to product defects. In 2017, a company spokesperson suggested that the car fires were occurring due to other reasons such as lack of proper maintenance, aftermarket modifications, rodent nesting and arson.
Complaints of Fires
Since 2017, the company has issued four fire-related recalls involving more than a million vehicles across years and models. ABC News and ABC-owned stations around the country have independently confirmed more than 50 reports of fires in parked BMWs that were not the subject of a fire-related recall at the time of the incident.
Several owners have filed complaints. Laura Ohme said she and her two sons, Max and Eli, were forced to flee their San Diego home when her 2014 BMW X5 ignited while it was parked and turned off in her garage. The explosion was so powerful that it blew out the garage door.
The family escaped unharmed and no one else was hurt in that incident. But fire investigators pinpointed her recently purchased BMW as the source of the fire. Another woman complained that her 2005 BMW X5 ignited spontaneously when it was parked and turned off in her driveway in Jacksonville, Florida. She said she reported the fire right away to the company, but no one came to inspect it. Several others who complained said the company was non-responsive.
Holding Automakers Accountable
In this case, there is no question that NHTSA has failed consumers by not looking into their complaints. Individuals have lost their homes as a result of some of these fires and many have narrowly escaped being burned to death. The agency, which is tasked with safeguarding consumer safety, has simply not done its job.
If you have been injured as a result of BMW fires, please contact an experienced auto defect attorney who can provide you with more information about pursuing your legal rights. You may be able to seek compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost income, hospitalization, pain and suffering, permanent injuries and emotional distress.