Feds probe Jeep Grand Cherokee ceiling fires

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by Gary Harper

Bio | Email | Follow: @GaryHarper3TV

azfamily.com

Posted on August 23, 2013 at 5:40 PM

Updated Saturday, Aug 24 at 3:43 AM

PHOENIX -- A recent 3 On Your Side report regarding a Valley woman and a fire inside her Jeep has sparked a federal investigation. 

The report centered around a woman by the name of Kasey Mills, whose 2012 Jeep Grand Jerokee caught fire inside the vehicle for unexplained reasons. 

"Every Jeep I see now, I feel like I want to knock on their window and say, 'Hey, be careful, it might spontanously combust,'" Mills told 3 On Your Side.

The fire appeared to have started over her passenger side visor and quickly spread to the passenger seat. 

"I quickly pulled into the gas station and called 911 right away and ran into the gas station and said, 'My car's on fire!'" Mills recalled.

Mills' 911 recording asking for help was played in 3 On Your Side's first report.  We also showed video of her damaged and burned vehicle.

3 On Your Side brought the issue to the attention of Chrysler, which is Jeep's parent company.

The automaker avoided answering many of our questions regarding the cause of Mills' fire or whether there could be a more serious safety issue involved.

So 3 On Your Side contacted the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which told us this was the first time they had heard of the fire. However, they said they would monitor the situation.

Well, since our report aired, the federal agency claims two more Jeep Grand Cherokees have had identical fires and as a result, the agency has announced it's launching its own investigation into the fires.

Its investigation affects 146,000 Jeeps nationwide and depending on what it discovers, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will determine if the issue is serious enough to warrant a recall.

Mills says she's satisfied the federal government is taking the matter seriously because in her eyes, Jeep Chrysler hasn't.

"Jeep Chrysler should be taking a lot stronger look at this because most people who own SUVs like that have families so this could be very, very detrimental to anyone who owns this type of vehicle if they don't get it figured out," said Mills.

3 On Your Side will air an updated news report in the future if the NHTSA decides a recall is in order.

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