Dallas Man Fights For Life After Kia Soul Catches Fire

Jordan Carlton and his mom Rebecca were enjoying what started as an amazing trip in Oahu, Hawaii.

But their vacation took a horrifying turn when their 2019 Kia Soul rental car went up in flames.

Carlton's mother managed to escape the car, tumbling onto the side of the road, but Carlton was trapped.

He was burned over 85% of his body. His father said his son may not make it.

"Jordan's injuries are life-altering," he said. "I am very angry. It upsets me greatly that this has been going on for years."

For more than a year now, NBC 5 Responds has been investigating Kia vehicles bursting into flames without a crash.

We've heard from two North Texas women who were driving on local interstates when their cars caught fire out of nowhere.

Carlton, the latest victim, is now fighting for his life.

"There comes a time when something has to be done. Something has to change," his father said.

Earlier this year, Kia recalled hundreds of thousands of older vehicles, citing a risk of non-collision fires.

But the Kia that Carlton was driving, a 2019 year model, was not on that recall list.

It's a troubling saga, that in this case, may have put this Dallas man's life on the line.

Kia told me that it immediately notified the government about this incident to coordinate a joint inspection, but said an initial conclusion has not been made due to the significant damage.

Kia told us that a vehicle fire may be the result of any number of complex factors, but said it's working on a second, more comprehensive inspection of that car.

Meanwhile Carton's family has filed a lawsuit against Kia, and the rental car company from which he got the car.

Kia released a full statement:

"Kia Motors America (KMA) recognizes that the Carltons, as well as the general public, deserve an understanding of the cause of this incident and, in turn, the ongoing safety of our vehicles. We also recognize that the injuries suffered by the Carltons, particularly Jordan Carlton, are serious and significant.

While KMA will typically not comment about ongoing litigation with respect to questions about a lawsuit, we would like to transparently share the investigative steps taken to identify the underlying cause of this fire. KMA became aware of this incident on 7/8/19 and immediately notified NHTSA for coordination of a joint inspection with the vehicle’s owner, Avis Budget, and the attorney for the family. Because all automobiles contain combustible materials and a fire may be the result of any number of complex factors, such as a manufacturing issue, inadequate maintenance, installation of aftermarket parts, an improper repair, arson, or some other non-vehicle source, each incident must be carefully evaluated by qualified and trained investigators and/or technicians.

Therefore, KMA enlisted internal staff from the U.S. and Korea and two independent U.S. fire experts to join NHTSA engineers plus lawyers and experts for the injured party, amongst others, for the inspection on 7/23/19. The inspection was productive but, as is often the case with a vehicle fire, an initial conclusion was not able to be drawn due to significant vehicle damage. As a result, all parties are working on a protocol for a second and more comprehensive inspection. Should any defect be identified during the course of this entire investigation, KMA will immediately notify NHTSA and commence a recall."

Owners are encouraged to contact Kia Consumer Affairs at 800-333-4542 with any questions or concerns related to this matter.

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