Reports of BMWs randomly exploding across the country have reached the dozens, according to ABC in San Francisco.
Apparently, the German luxury vehicles are catching fire after being parked and turned off, and experts have no idea why.
ABC reports that in San Francisco alone, extensive property damage has been caused by the fires, with some estimates putting the total expenses for the owners of the cars at somewhere around $200,000.
While the first incidents of the bizarre car fires were reported in 2012, there have been a significant amount of explosions reported in what seems like every year thereafter. Darla Edwards, a former BMW SUV owner, reported her startling experience with her 2001 model back in 2014. The woman apparently happened to look out of her window during the wee hours of the night when she saw, to her horror, bright orange flames coming from the hood of her vehicle. Her 6-year-old son, who had been sleeping, woke up and found his mother, hysterical.
“I just saw some flames and then when my mom started crying, I start[ed] crying too.”
Edwards, a San Francisco resident, implied that the scene was almost surreal- but the loud noise in the engine assured her that she was actually experiencing a real disaster.
“It was doing like a ‘pop’ noise, like ‘pop pop pop’- as if something was going on under the hood.”
ABC News reports that it was Edwards’ neighbor, an Arthur Emerson, who actually saw the flames first and attempted to get in touch with Ms. Edwards. He indicated that he was “mostly afraid it was going to blow up,” prompting him to “react real quickly.”
Edwards claimed that though damages to the pricey 2001 BMW totaled almost $10,000, the multibillion dollar company offered her only $2,500 towards a new vehicle- not even 5% of the cost of a comparable model at the time.
In another incident, a 2007 BMW SUV was parked in its owner’s driveway when, out of nowhere, the vehicle exploded into flames. Firefighters claimed that the heat from the fire was so fierce, the BMW’s entire engine melted through the framework of the car and dropped to the ground. However, that wasn’t the worst part. Apparently, the flames from the vehicle quickly spread to the neighboring house, and its occupants- a mother with her two grade-school children- narrowly escaped with their lives.
Reports indicate that almost 600 2007-model BMWs were recalled in 2012 after discoveries indicated a part for the cooling fan motor could overheat and possibly cause the engine to ignite, but other than that, no other recalls involving fire have been issued by the company to date.
Investigators believe the fires in both the 2007 model and the 2001 model started in the engine compartments, but exactly why or how they started is unclear. Foul play has not been suspected in either incident.
Along with those two BMW explosions, ABC reports that other fires in parked cars have been reported all around the country- including several more right in San Francisco. Apparently, some of these models were already under recall for previous issues regarding fire, but many of them were not.
Experts say the discrepancies in age, wear, and maintenance of the various vehicles makes it extremely hard to even begin to pinpoint the sole reason the cars are exploding. They do, however, agree that one reason may have to do with the fact that cars are never truly off, even when we think they are.
“When a car is off, and it catches fire, obviously you have a problem and most of the time they’re coming from an a electrical system. A lot of power to these electronic systems is going to remain on in the vehicle even when the vehicle [is] off.”
BMW itself claims to have investigated the issues and sees no problem with any of its vehicle models.
[Featured Image by Matthias Schrader/AP Images]