3 On Your Side

Tempe woman says her vehicle unexpectedly burst into flames

Posted: Updated:
A Tempe family says their car unexpectedly caught fire and they want answers from the manufacturer. (Source: Cari McLean) A Tempe family says their car unexpectedly caught fire and they want answers from the manufacturer. (Source: Cari McLean)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

A Tempe family says their car unexpectedly caught fire and they want answers from the manufacturer. However, they say the car maker brushed them off.

Fortunately, the family wasn't injured when their Kia Sorrento caught fire.
They say it was a serious fire that happened out of nowhere and now they want to know if it can happen to other Kias.

When Cari McLean and her husband leave their house to run errands they get into a van that doesn't even belong to them. In fact, the van is borrowed from a relative.

That's because back in December, the regular car they own and drive unexpectedly caught fire.

“As soon as we pulled up to my sister's house, my husband turned off the car and he goes ‘get out of the car!’ And I was in the back with the baby, and I look up and there's smoke coming out of the engine.”

McLean says she rushed to get her baby out of the car and then snapped some photos.

“And the engine at this point is just completely smoking and there's flames coming. You could see flames coming from the bottom at this point.”

McLean says eventually, firefighters arrived.

“Fire department, took them about 8 minutes to get there and they popped the hood, and there was just flames everywhere and it took them a good 10 to 15 minutes at least to completely put it out. The entire engine was just burnt to a crisp.”

McLean says she's thankful her family wasn't injured, but she still can't understand why her Kia Sorrento erupted into flames.

“Kia put a new engine in about a year ago, maybe less than a year ago. There was absolutely nothing that needed to be updated in the car, it only had 60,000 miles on it. There was absolutely no reason this should have happened.” 

McLean says she contacted Kia about the engine fire, but she claims her complaint fell on deaf ears. 

“Complete brush off. Basically, they said if I had further concerns I could contact an attorney.”

So, 3 On Your Side got involved and we got a hold of Kia. The car manufacturer quickly responded and tell us they are now looking into the issue. 

“I believe it's Kia's fault and again how much worse it could have been, two because I don't believe this is the only vehicle this has or will happen to,” says McLean.

She says insurance did pay out on the Sorrento, but left the family with a more than $1,200 balance. McLean says she would like Kia to do something about that. 

Kia has been looking into this issue for about a week now. I'll let you know what they find out in a follow-up report.

Click/tap here to download the free azfamily mobile app.

Copyright 2018 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

LiAna EnriquezLiAna Enriquez is a native of Arizona. She attended Marcos de Niza High School in Tempe, Arizona.

Click to learn more about LiAna.

LiAna Enriquez

She then went on to Arizona State University. She graduated summa cum laude from the University’s prestigious, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism with a degree in Journalism/Mass Communications with an emphasis in broadcasting.

LiAna started her news career with KTVK-TV as an intern. She loved it so much she never left! She has been with the station for fourteen years. Currently, she is the consumer investigative producer for Arizona’s top rated consumer segment, 3 On Your Side and is also a general assignment reporter. LiAna also reported for the station’s top rated high school sports show, ‘The Varsity Zone’ for five years.

In her free time LiAna enjoys cooking, watching movies, quading, and traveling. But her absolute favorite thing to do, is to hang out with her husband and beautiful daughters. She is a softball mom. She loves the beach and waterfalls! Her favorite team is the Arizona Cardinals and of course, the Sun Devils.

Life motto: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)

If you have a story idea for LiAna, Send her an email .

Hide bio

Gary HarperGary Harper is the senior consumer and investigative reporter for 3 On Your Side at KTVK-TV.

Click to learn more about Gary.

Gary Harper
3 On Your Side

With more than 20 years of television experience, Gary has established himself as a leader in the industry when it comes to assisting viewers and resolving their consumer-related issues. His passion and enthusiasm have helped him earn an Emmy for Best Consumer Reporter from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He’s also garnered several Emmy nominations

He has negotiated resolutions with companies of all sizes, including some of the biggest corporations in the nation.

Gary has successfully recouped more than $1 million for viewers around the state, making 3 On Your Side one of the most popular segments on KTVK and the station's Web site.

He's best known for investigating and confronting unscrupulous contractors. In fact, many of his news reports have led to police investigations and jail time for those who were caught. Viewers, as well as the companies and people he investigates, regard him as consistently being thorough and fair.

Gary has been with KTVK-TV since 1997. Prior to his arrival in Phoenix, he worked for WZZM-TV in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he was as an anchor and reporter.

Gary is from Chicago, but launched his television career in Lubbock, Texas, after earning a broadcast journalism degree from Texas Tech University. Following his graduation, he was quickly hired by KLBK-TV in Lubbock, where he enterprised and broke numerous exclusive reports. His aggressive reporting in Texas helped garner him Best Reporter by the Associated Press.

Gary has been married since 1994 and is the proud father of two sons. When he's not helping viewers, Gary is busy catching up on his favorite college and professional football teams as well as cheering on his beloved Texas Tech Red Raiders.

Hide bio

Contact 3 On Your Side