Local in our Automotive Addicts hometown of Jacksonville, Florida, a family reunites as they potentially lost their home to a fire believed to be caused by a new Mercedes-Benz EQE 350 parked in their garage.
The new 2023 Mercedes-Benz EQE 350 was given to the owner as a loaner car while his own Mercedes-Benz was being serviced.
The unfortunate event happened on a Wednesday morning when the EQ E350+ was parked in the family’s garage. According to the owner, Ms Ruotolo, the car had been sitting in the garage for around 22 hours before it suddenly caught fire. She was at work at the time, but her husband was present when he heard a whistle followed by a thud. Rushing into the garage, he encountered smoke, and soon after the car caught fire and exploded.
Remarkably, the car was not even charging when the fire broke out. The extent of the fire damage was extensive, engulfing the entire garage and extending to the attic and second floor. The severity of the damage led the family to believe their home could be a total loss.
Mercedes-Benz had already issued a recall for 2023 EQE 350 models before this incident due to concerns that the cars would fail to alert drivers to battery malfunctions. As the St. Johns County Fire Marshal investigates the exact cause of the fire, authorities are highlighting the potential risks associated with lithium-ion batteries in electric vehicles.
Ms Ruotolo expressed dismay at the incident, saying she wished she had never brought the loaner car home. As a loaner vehicle from a reputable brand like Mercedes-Benz, she expected it to work well and be safe. She then shared her doubts about the readiness of electric cars for the market and recommended against buying one in the near future.
Damage to Ruotolo’s home was estimated at over $1 million, but she expressed gratitude that her husband and puppy were unharmed. The near-tragic outcome left the family with a significant but grateful challenge for their safety.
News4JAX, who first broke the story, contacted Mercedes-Benz headquarters for a response, but at the time of writing, they were still awaiting a statement. It should be noted that Mercedes-Benz had issued the battery recall for the EQE 350s a few months prior and had no knowledge of any accidents or injuries caused by battery malfunctions.
This incident raised concerns and sparked discussions about the safety of electric vehicles, particularly with regard to battery-related issues. As investigations continue, manufacturers and regulators may need to reassess electric car safety protocols and communication systems to mitigate potential risks.
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