Woman's Kia with fire risk recall goes up in flames: 'Very, very lucky'

Diane Wilson Image
Tuesday, June 11, 2024 12:16AM
Triangle driver's car with urgent fire risk recall goes up in flames
North Carolina driver escapes safely from her Kia Sol before it went up in flames; the car was part of a fire risk recall issued in 2023.

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- "I am very, very lucky that I was able to get out."

Driver Jasmine Lee is thankful she was able to get out of her car right before it went up in flames.

She tells ABC11 Troubleshooter she was driving her 2013 Kia Soul when all of a sudden she heard a noise.

"I heard like a pop or something like under my hood and the car just disabled, like, all the lights came on and the car just cut off. It was still moving because of the momentum of the car running."

Lee said she was able to pull into a driveway and started to see smoke, "I started to see the flames and I'm like, oh, my gosh, I got to call 911."

From a distance, she shot video as firefighters worked to extinguish the fire. She watched and recorded as her car was destroyed by the fire.

Kia Sol catches fire (Photo: Jasmine Lee)
Kia Sol catches fire (Photo: Jasmine Lee)

The night of the fire Lee remembered a recall notice issued in September of 2023. According to the recall, about 1.7 million select Kia vehicles, including Lee's, anti-lock brake system module could leak brake fluid internally and cause an electrical short. An electrical short, that according to the recall, increases the risk of an engine compartment fire while driving or parked.

The recall was deemed urgent and a fire risk and Kia advised owners that they should park their vehicles outside and away from homes until their vehicles have been repaired. Another problem is that the repair parts still aren't available, nine months after the recall was issued.

Kia Recall Notice
Kia Recall Notice

"If they had done their due diligence and provided the parts that needed to be repaired, this probably would have never happened to my car," Lee tells ABC11. She says she contacted Kia right away and they told her they'd investigate and when she requested a rental Kia said no.

Michael Brooks with The Center for Auto Safety says Lee is not alone. He said his agency has heard from several car owners impacted by this recall and they've gotten no help.

"They (Kia) tell owners to contact their insurance and get their money for their vehicle, and then dust their hands off like nothing happened, which is a huge problem, particularly in this circumstance," Brooks said. With no fix for the recall, Brooks says more Kia owners could be in danger when it comes to their vehicles.

"For instance, the Sol owner, won't even get their recall notification, letting them know that the remedy part is available until later this month and then they'll have to get in line and wait for an opportunity to get the fix."

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Not hearing anything from Kia, Lee reached out to ABC11 Troubleshooter Diane Wilson. A Kia representative told her twice he forwarded Lee's case to customer care for their prompt review, but more than a week later, Lee still says she has not heard anything from Kia.

"To be out of a car for no reason of my own and nothing that I even have. The capabilities of having some kind of mode of transportation in the interim, it's not ok."

Kia Sol catches fire (Photo: Jasmine Lee)
Kia Sol catches fire (Photo: Jasmine Lee)

Troubleshooter Diane Wilson has asked Kia several times for comment about this case and what they do for owners who have an incident like Lee's while they have the urgent fire risk recall, but the representative did not add any comment.

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