Fire chief warns Ford drivers after wife’s car bursts into flames

(Courtesy: Nathan Keeton)

ETHRIDGE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The volunteer fire chief in Ethridge, Tennessee, is warning people after his wife’s car burst into flames.

Chief Nathan Keeton said the family received a recall notice saying a crack in the engine could cause a fire. Now, the Keetons are questioning why Ford didn’t take more definitive action.

It happened on Dec. 15, 2017 when Keeton’s wife was driving the car on the highway. The 2013 Ford Fusion suddenly caught fire and, soon, the entire car was engulfed.

(Courtesy: Nathan Keeton)

“She was real hysterical on the phone, and she said it was on fire. She called me and said there was something wrong with her car, there was a loud grinding sound,” said Keeton.

His wife got out of the car just in time.

“It was fully engulfed when we got there. I was just more worried about her and she just dropped my son off at Summertown Elementary School, so I am glad he was not in the vehicle when it went up in flames,” explained Chief Keeton.

The family received the recall letter 8 months before the fire. Keeton says the letter told them to check the fluids and wait for a follow-up letter for the replacement parts–but they never received that follow-up letter.

“The letter specifically said wait on the mail, so we don’t bug anyone when it has specific instructions in the letter,” explained Keaton.

Ford spokeswoman Elizabeth Weigandt said that the company is glad no one got hurt. She also said the parts are now available and customers should be getting the letters shortly.

In a statement to News 2, she wrote, in full:

Ford cares deeply about the safety of our customers and we are sorry to hear this happened. Parts for this recall are available now and customers will be shortly receiving letters if they haven’t already.

Though parts were not immediately available at the time the recall was announced, we advised customers to check and maintain proper coolant levels and to see their dealer if their vehicle exhibits a coolant leak or overheating or frequently needs coolant added.

A local dealership told News 2 if you are concerned, act now. Contact your local Ford dealer with your 17-digit VIN number so they can look up your car