Initial reports have been uncertain, more needs to be determined, but the chief fire investigator in Fort Bend, Texas has let fly the statement that a Fisker Karma was the source of a house fire there.
“Yes, the Karma was the origin of the fire,” said Chief Robert Baker to Autoweek about the incident that took place last week, “but what exactly caused that we don’t know at this time.”
The car was burned to the frame, and also damaged its garage mates – an Acura NSX and Mercedes-Benz SUV – while burning the garage itself and a second floor. No injuries were reported.
All that said, there were fireworks reported near the vehicle and aside from initial informal comments, no official statement has been made regarding the actual cause.
Baker said the Karma was not plugged in when the fire apparently began less than three minutes after the owner pulled it into the garage. The owner reported smelling burning rubber immediately before the flames began and quickly engulfed the car.
“The car was brand-new,” said Baker. “He still had paper tags on it, so it was 60 days old at [most].”
The vehicle had also been through a Fisker service update, but again, what actually caused the fire is still unknown.
In response, Fisker issued the following statement:
Last week, Fisker Automotive was made aware of a garage fire involving three vehicles, including a Karma sedan, that were parked at a newly-constructed residence in Sugar Land, Texas. There were no injuries.
There are conflicting reports and uncertainty surrounding this particular incident. The cause of the fire is not yet known and is being investigated.
We have not yet seen any written report from the Fort Bend fire department and believe that their investigation is continuing. As of now, multiple insurance investigators are involved, and we have not ruled out possible fraud or malicious intent. We are aware that fireworks were found in the garage in or around the vehicles. Also, an electrical panel located in the garage next to the vehicles is also being examined by the investigators as well as fire department officials. Based on initial observations and inspections, the Karma’s lithium ion battery pack was not being charged at the time and is still intact and does not appear to have been a contributing factor in this incident.
Fisker will continue to participate fully in the investigation but will not be commenting further until all the facts are established.
It should be noted also that internal combustion vehicles have been catching fire since their inception, and have maimed and killed many people – and while that is tragic and not in itself acceptable – society has accepted motor vehicles as a worthwhile risk.
Last year alone, over 200,000 internal combustion vehicles were reportedly involved in fires, but today’s social/political climate has been observed to have heightened demands for perceived safety, and has demonstrated skittishness about new technology.
So a fire – while always bad news – has been something the electrified vehicle industry has particularly wanted to avoid so early on.
As for Fisker, the company has had more than its share of so-so to outright negative news, and surely did not need this incident now.
We will report again when we learn more.