Denton Woman Escapes Burning Kia - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
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Denton Woman Escapes Burning Kia

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    Denton Woman Escapes Burning Kia

    A woman in Denton said she was driving to work when out of nowhere her Kia burst into flames. (Published Monday, June 25, 2018)

    Amy McDade was driving south on Interstate 35 when all of a sudden she said a woman started honking, waiving for her to pull over.

    McDade said she figured it was road rage, so she continued driving. But the other woman on the road kept following her.

    "She is relentless on trying to get me to pull over," McDade explained.

    She eventually got off at the nearest exit to see what the woman wanted.

    "I open my car door to get out and there’s flames all underneath the car," she said. "I was just terrified. I couldn’t believe it."

    With the exception of a small burn on her leg, McDade said she got out safely.  But about 30 seconds later, her 2013 Kia Optima Hybrid was covered in flames.

    "How could this be happening. I just had the car fixed," she said.

    Three weeks before the incident, McDade said her car broke down on I-35. She said she had it towed to her local Kia dealership and was told it was an electrical issue. McDade said 10 days later, the dealership said car was good to go.

    McDade believes she’s lucky to be alive.

    "If you search online and look up Kia, you can find stories about fires," said McDade.

    We found several reports online from consumers who say their Kia spontaneously caught on fire.

    The Center for Auto Safety, an independent consumer advocacy organization, is also raising concerns with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration about Kias going up in flames:

    “There have been more than 100 consumer complaints of non-collision fires submitted to NHTSA regarding these vehicles and 200 complaints of melted wires in the engine bay, smoke, and burning odors…Altogether, more than 2.2 million of these vehicles were manufactured during model years 2011-2014.”

    "I’m in disbelief because Kia had told us it must be an isolated incident. We’ve never heard of this happening before," McDade explained.

    U.S. Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) Is also demanding answers.

    "Can you imagine if you put your car in the garage and it burst into flames? It would engulf the whole house and if the family is sleeping might kill the whole family," said Senator Nelson. 

    "This is a major concern, and that’s why we asked NHTSA, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, to get on the stick and find out what is the problem.

    NHTSA tells NBC 5 it takes “all potential safety defects seriously. The agency is reviewing the issue and will take appropriate action to protect the American public.”

    Meanwhile, McDade is still left with no car, no answers and a memory that haunts her every time she gets behind the wheel.

    "I’m lucky I didn’t die," she said.

    McDade tells us it’s been nine months and she still hasn’t been reimbursed for her car.

    Kia tells NBC 5 in part, "Kia has been advised by Ms. McDade's insurance company that they have not completed their inspection of the vehicle nor have they sent a formal subrogation demand to Kia as of this date. However, Kia has requested permission to inspect the vehicle and is awaiting a response….A vehicle fire may be due to any number of complex factors which must be carefully evaluated by trained technicians to determine its cause. If the fire is determined to be the result of a Kia quality issue, KMA will work with the customer to reach a satisfactory resolution to the issue.”

    We asked Kia if there was a widespread problem with its cars catching on fire. Kia simply told us that it is working with NHTSA.

    Senator Nelson said Kia shouldn't wait for the consumer’s insurance company to complete its investigation before stepping in and doing its own.

    NHTSA encourages consumers to report potential safety concerns to nhtsa.gov.


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