A BROMSGROVE man was left shocked and shaken when the car he was driving suddenly burst into flames en route to a camping and fishing weekend.
Doug Begley was travelling on the 30-mile journey to Abbots Salford in Warwickshire when the incident happened on the A435 near Harvington.
He said he noticed an unusual smell in the 2015 Vauxhall Insignia but as the car, which had only done 24,000 miles, was running well he thought it must be something else.
But minutes later as he was driving towards the lake at Abbots Salford Fishery, he noticed something fall off the underside of the car which was clearly alight.
At that point smoke quickly filled the car and, as he was in the middle of farm and woodland, he drove to the car park with his door open.
By now the flames were coming from the nearside of the vehicle.
“I stopped the car and got out as quickly as possible. Some friends tried to open the other doors and the boot to retrieve my belongings but they would not open.
“We had to stand clear as the fire spread rapidly and within five minutes the whole vehicle was burning.
“By the time the fire service arrived the car was completely gutted.”
Mr Begley said the most worrying aspects were that because the doors would not open when the car was alight, if he had been in the car he would have been unable to get out.
And he said, half an hour before starting his journey, his six-year-old grandson was in the vehicle and he shuddered to think what would have happened had he been with him when the car was ablaze.
He told The Standard he felt Vauxhall had not done enough to look into the incident and said a mechanic he knew believed it could have been the power steering as there was a known fault with some models.
But a spokesperson for Vauxhall told The Standard: “Mr Begley has allegedly suggested that the power steering system could be the cause.
“Vauxhall has recalled a small number of earlier Insignias due to leaking power steering hydraulic pipes – no fires have resulted from any leaks in these pipes.
“However, Mr Begley’s car has electric power steering which has no hydraulics and therefore no pipes or fluid.”
He said, since Mr Begley wrote the the company, he felt Vauxhall had done enough to identify the cause of the fire.
He added, as a result, Vauxhall had instigated an investigation into the fire, obtaining permission from the insurance company to inspect the vehicle and take away any parts – if necessary – for further investigation.
He said a full forensic investigation was undertaken and a report was written and Vauxhall had also purchased the fire brigade report as further evidence.
“Because the car was completely destroyed we concluded that the root cause of the fire could not be identified – no parts were removed
“Mr Begley was advised to contact his insurance company to settle the matter as no root cause and therefore no Vauxhall liability could be identified.”