An increasing number of Kia vehicles spontaneously bursting into flames in the Florida area are raising concerns about the safety of these vehicles and the danger they pose to vehicle owners. According to a KTNV news report, a Florida couple and their 13-month-old son were inside their 2013 Kia Sorento SUV when the vehicle suddenly caught fire. Daniel Adams was able to pull over to the side of the road and got himself, his wife and child out of the SUV seconds before it became engulfed in flames.
Another Florida woman, Tisha Van Allen, said her 2012 Kia Optima spontaneously caught fire as she was driving in the Memphis area. In her case she couldn’t open the door from the inside. Fortunately, a passerby stopped and pulled the door open, potentially saving Allen’s life.
Hundreds of Similar Reports
These people are not alone. Hundreds of Kia owners around the country have filed similar reports with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The two models that stand out are 2011 to 2014 Optima and Sorento vehicles, which account for 91 complaints. Many of these vehicles were already recalled due an engine defect recall believed to be unrelated to the fires.
WFTS in Florida has also spoken with nine other Kia drivers who say their vehicles spontaneously combusted and burned to the ground. WFTS reporters also looked at similar-sized SUVs and sedans. Over a three-year period, Ford, Toyota and Honda SUVs reported between one and two fires each.
Senator Bill Nelson recently petitioned NHTSA for a full investigation after seeing one of WFTS’s investigative reports. But the agency has limited its review to the two recalls that are already in place. Consumer watchdogs have accused NHTSA of failing to protect public safety by failing to properly investigate these fires. The U.S. Senate Transportation Committee is now debating whether to call a Senate hearing to make Kia answer questions under oath about the fires and what is causing them.
Protecting Your Rights
It is unclear as to how many injuries or fatalities may have occurred as a result of these Kia fires. However, it is imperative that federal officials take action before there are catastrophic injuries or fatalities. If you own one of these vehicles and have had a similar experience, report the incident to NHTSA right away. If you or a loved one has been injured, please contact an experienced auto defect lawyer who will provide you with more information about protecting your legal rights.