Car Fire Leads to House Fire
OCALA - It was a close call for an Ocala family early Monday morning after their home caught on fire.
Their fire alarm was melted after flames made their way inside the house.
But the family of five including three children from 6 to 14 years of age didn't hear the alarm.
A neighbor banged on their door around 5 a.m. after seeing the flames coming from the carport.
Dave Stewart with 1800-BoardUp was there securing the home from rain and thieves, helping the family for free.
"They had a car in the carport that caught fire and spread to the house and made it to the utility room, but it did do total smoke damage," Stewart said.
Stewart is a retired Gainesville firefighter with almost 30 years on the job.
He says cars catching on fire happens more often than most people think.
Fire officials have now ruled this house fire accidental, caused by the family's 1999 Volkswagen Jetta. They believe the fire started near the car's battery.
According to State Fire Marshal's records, there have been 248 complaints about the 1999 Jetta, seven of which are directly related to the cars catching on fire.
But it's a similar case for several other car manufacturers.
Right now the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is analyzing whether a power window switch used in the Toyota Camry, Rav 4, and the Yaris is causing the cars to catch on fire.
Just last month, the agency stepped up an investigation into gas tank fires in Chrysler Jeeps.
No recalls have yet been made on any of these cars in fear of fires.
The family wasn't hurt through the ordeal, but an Ocala firefighter suffered a medical condition and had to be rushed to the hospital.
He is expected to recover.
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