The firestorm of Ford trucks burning across America has erupted again, destroying a Virginia home and spreading destruction in 3 other states.
The devastation follows strong warnings from federal safety regulators to millions of Ford truck owners that the vehicles are a clear and present fire hazard.
A 2005 Ford F-150 caught fire in the middle of the night in Waynesboro, Virginia April 24 destroying the truck, two other vehicles and burning the truck owner's home to the ground.
The Ford owner was awakened in the early morning hours by the family pet to "find our 2005 Ford F-150 engulfed in flames and to soon see our other two vehicles and our home destroyed by fire."
"A total of four investigators have concluded that the cause of the fire is the Ford F-150. The truck is presently under lock and key and the investigation continues," the Ford truck owner told ConsumerAffairs.Com.
The family was evacuated from their property with estimated losses of $225,000.
A similar fire occurred in Riviera Beach, Florida in May when a 2001 Ford Expedition caught fire. The truck owner reported that on May 15, "after driving my 2001 Ford Expedition around doing errands" he parked the truck in his driveway. "After about 15 minutes,someone was banging on my front door telling me my truck was on fire," he told ConsumerAffairs.Com.
The fire destroyed the Ford Expedition and the fire department reported to the owner that, "it appears the fire started in the front driver side of the engine compartment."
May 21 in Duluth, Georgia a Ford F-150 burned. The owner reported that he had received a recall notice from Ford about the defective speed control deactivation switch (SCDS) but the recall failed to emphasize the danger of a truck fire.
"I knew that I needed to get the recall for the defective SCDS and planned to go to the dealership this week. The recall notice mentioned a possibility of the truck catching fire even when the truck is off. There was no urgent warning in the recall. I even asked the Ford 800-number operator how serious this problem was after my truck went up in flames and he replied very, very remote."
The Georgia truck owner lost his F-150 to the blaze and the driveway was damaged because of the heat from the fire.
"This could have been real sad if I had parked my truck in the garage below my youngest boy's bedroom," he said.
The Ford recall of cars and trucks to repair the defective cruise control system covers more than 12 million vehicles, including the 1998 F-150 that burned in Georgia.
Nevertheless, the most recent recall notice posted on the Ford Web site downplays the possibility of a truck fire.
"The potential for fire is small. However, owners who are concerned should park their vehicle outside until the repair is completed. Ultimately, the best action for customers is to have their dealer perform the repair as soon as possible," Ford stated on its Web site.
The Duluth, Georgia school teacher seemed lulled into inaction by the attitude at Ford.
"Yes I did get a recall notice for the SCDS. I received it about three weeks prior to the fire. I teach, and I had it on my list of to-do items for this week, our first week out of school for the summer. I got the impression from the notice that this was not an extremely serious problem, he told ConsumerAffairs.com.
Just a week after the Ford truck fire in Georgia, a 1995 Ford F-150 erupted into flames in Gaston, South Carolina.
"Our 1995 4-wheel drive F-150 was sitting in our front yard turned off when it erupted into flames burning everything on the driver-side under-hood area. Ford promptly denied the claim citing 2 recall notices had been sent prior to the fire and they were not responsible," the owner said.
Ford has repeatedly denied liability for its fire-prone cars and trucks forcing some burned-out owners to take their complaints to court. At least four wrongful death suits have been filed against the automaker in fire-related incidents.
In the most recent recall notice posted on the Ford Web site, the automaker continued to refuse responsibility for vehicles that have burned. The automaker said owners "should work with their insurance company to address these concerns."
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has warned owners of Ford cars and trucks that carry the defective SCDS to have the system repaired or disconnected immediately or risk the vehicle catching fire. "This condition may occur either when the vehicle is parked or when it is being operated, even if the speed control is not in use," the NHTSA advisory stated.
"Failure to have the switch disconnected could lead to a vehicle fire at any time, whether or not the key is in the ignition, and whether or not owners use the cruise control system," the strongly-worded NHTSA consumer advisory cautioned.
NHTSA concluded that the fire danger is present regardless of the age of the vehicle.
The recalled vehicles are:
1. 1993 2004 F150
2. 1993 1999 F250 (gasoline engine)
3. 1993 1996 Bronco
4. 1994 1996 Econoline
5. 1997 2002 Ford Expedition
6. 1998 2002 Lincoln Navigator
7. 1998 2002 Ford Ranger
8. 1992 1998 Ford Crown Victoria, Mercury Grand Marquis and Lincoln Town Car
9. 1993 1998 Lincoln Mark VIII
10. 1993 1995 Ford Taurus SHO with automatic transmission
11. 1994 Mercury Capri
12. 1998 2001 Ford Explorer and Mercury Mountaineer
13. 2001 2002 Ford Explorer Sport and Explorer Sport Trac
14. 1992 1993 and 1997 2003 Ford E-150-350 gasoline or natural gas vehicles
15. 2002 E-550 gasoline engine vehicles
16. 1996 2003 E-450 gasoline or natural gas vehicles
17. 1994 2002 F-250 through F-550 super Duty trucks (gasoline engine)
18. 2000 2002 Ford Excursion (gasoline engine)
19. 2003 F250 F550 Super Duty, Ford Excursion
20. 1995 2002 Ford F53 Motor home chassis
21. 2002 2003 Lincoln Blackwood
Ford truck and SUV owners wanting more information about the fire danger in their vehicle or the recall may contact Ford at 1-800-392-3673 or NHTSA 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153).
The firestorm of Ford trucks burning across America has erupted again, destroying a Virginia home and spreading destruction in 3 other states....