A Houston-area family escaped harm when their house suddenly went up in flames, and fire investigators say an electric car is to blame.
Jeremy Gutierrez pulled his Fisker Karma electric vehicle into his garage, parked it, and went inside. Three minutes later his garage, and home, were consumed in fire.
Gutierrez, his wife, his mother and a child escaped without injuries not, but his home suffered $100,000.00 in damage.
His child's bedroom burned in the fire.
“The Karma was the origin of the fire," said Fort Bend County chief fire investigator Robert Baker.
The Karma was a post-recall model. It was only a few days old and had just 200 miles. Gutierrez reports just before the fire began he could smell burning rubber.
Fisker, as you may recall, was given a $529 million taxpayer-financed loan by the Obama administration. Obama has hailed Fisker as an example of his successful U.S. economic policies.
However, Fisker builds its vehicles in Finland, not the United States. So far Fisker has sold poorly, was forced to recall vehicles and had its cars break down during Consumer Reports testing.
Fisker refuses to accept the findings of the fire investigator that their admittedly faulty vehicles were the cause of yet another electric car fire. What's downright stunning is their implication Gutierrez used fireworks to burn his child's bedroom with his family in the home, claiming "fraud or malicious intent" may be to blame.
An upset Gutierrez released the following statement:
On the afternoon of May 2, 2012, Mr. Jeremy Gutierrez’s brand new Fisker Karma hybrid electric vehicle caught fire while parked in his garage, setting fire to his home while his wife, mother, and child were inside. Thanks to the fast action of Mr. Gutierrez, he was able to evacuate his family from the home moments before portions of the house were engulfed in flames, including his child’s bedroom.
The Fort Bend County Fire Department immediately responded to the scene and as able to contain and extinguish the fire before total destruction of the Gutierrez’s family home. The fire department recently completed their investigation and determined the origin of the fire was, in fact, Gutierrez’s newly purchased Fisker Karma hybrid electric vehicle that he just took possession of two weeks earlier. Chief Investigator for the Fort Bend County Fire Marshal’s Office Robert N. Baker has concluded that the fire was accidental in nature.
Since the date of this incident, Mr. Gutierrez has been fully cooperative with public safety officials, as well as insurance adjusters and the vehicle manufacturer’s investigators. In fact, Mr. Gutierrez fully accommodated the precise and somewhat peculiar demands of Fisker Automotive, who sent their self-proclaimed “SWAT Team” of engineers and inspectors (that included their own forensic cause and origin investigator) to the Gutierrez home within 24 hours of the fire. They descended upon the Gutierrez home in alarming numbers and immediately demanded a 24-hour lock-down of his home, including the remains of the Fisker Karma vehicle. They also cordoned off portions of the Gutierrez home with non-transparent tarps to block the view from the public. Fisker even had access to eyewitnesses, who were interviewed by Fisker investigators and those investigators were shown video footage of the Fisker vehicle on fire before and other part of the garage. Mr. Gutierrez accommodated every request with the hope of have a full, fair and open inquiry into the cause of the Fisker vehicle fire that set his house ablaze and endangered his family.
Despite the fact public safety and law enforcement officials have determined Mr. Gutierrez’s home and vehicles are not a crime scene, Fisker Automotive released a public statement on May 8, 2012 implying fraud or malicious intent were open questions. The family is stunned by this implication. The Gutierrez family has afforded every accommodation to Fisker and access to all evidence that public safety and law enforcement official examined. Fisker’s statement is a grave disappointment, especially in light of the damages the family suffered and continues to suffer.
The Gutierrez family has suffered enough. They are temporarily displaced from their home, and have lost three vehicles. They value their privacy and wish to have this investigation completed immediately so they can return to their home.