Ontario Man’s Hyundai Erupts In Flams After Routine Service

An Ontario man’s Hyundai Sonata lit on fire just 15 minutes after he picked it up from the dealership following servicing. Experts have stated that the fire was fueled by some kind of accelerant. It is unclear if an investigation was conducted, which as an official points out, is a gap in the public safety system.

On November 9, 2021, Mike Tennant from Cambridge, Ontario, took his 2015 Hyundai Sonata for a service and then collected it later that day. About 15 minutes after collecting his car and driving back home, as he pulled into his driveway, a large flame erupted from his hood. “A large flame came up over the hood and I jumped out of the car and ran to the door and said, ‘Patty [wife], my car is on fire!’ I was shaking so bad I couldn’t dial 911,” Tennant shared.

The fire department was called and they prevented the fire from spreading, however, by that time, Tennant’s Sonata was charred. Till now, there has reportedly been no investigation on what caused the fire, and Tennant’s insurance company, Allstate, said, “With any claim, our adjusters evaluate the details to determine if an investigation is required.” The dealership did not conduct an investigation either because the insurance company says it was not responsible. Furthermore, the fire department also said it does not investigate vehicle fires unless there is something suspicious or there have been serious injuries.

Allstate paid $16,472.95 for the car while the rest has been left for Tennant to bear. He has since purchased a new Honda.

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Eli Melnick, an electrical engineer, licensed mechanic, and forensic investigator, said the fire seemed to be fueled by an accelerant. “I would say that gasoline is probably the most likely fuel that fed the fire in this case, judging by the intensity and height of the flames,” he said. As to whether the service could have been responsible for the fire, Melnick said that it took 15 minutes for the car to erupt in flames which is about as long as the engine takes to reach operating temperature, which in turn is hot enough to cause a fire.

However, George Iny, president of the Automobile Protection Agency said that this shows a gap in the public safety system. Because automakers are not required to report such incidents to Transport Canada, they are not addressed and are putting the public at risk, he explained.

Transport Canada is reportedly working on proposing new regulations that would require car manufacturers to collect information on fires and report them to Transport Canada to help identify safety defects.

Vineet Washington

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