By Daniel Bird
A mum is furious after her luxury £44,000 Range Rover ‘spontaneously burst into flames’ on her drive – causing £119,000 of destruction.
Trudie Birch, 42, was asleep at home in Bromsgrove, Worcs, in the early hours of September 21 when her six-month-old Range Rover Evoque went up in flames – causing catastrophic damage to her husband Dominic’s van and their garage.
Mum-of-two Trudie claims she has received no support from the prestigious car maker – which she believes may be linked to a current freeze in production at their Solihull plant ahead of a full-time halt planned for later this month [October].
The company director said: “The fire started well before 3.20am, so it could have gone on for hours.
“The initial fire was terrifying.
“The fire was spreading so quickly and if the fire service were not as amazingly responsive as they were it could have easily spread to my neighbours’ gardens too.
“Hearing the explosions has not yet left me.
“Fire investigators said the fire most likely started in the front engine compartment and was a vehicle fault causing localised heating.
“My insurance team are sending forensics out to investigate it and how it started.
“I phoned Jaguar Land Rover on the day of the fire but had nothing – I had to nag them until they rang me.
“My main concern was there could be others out there, the car might have been recalled because it was only six months old.
“We have no vehicles between us now, and have since spent £1,000 on hire cars in three weeks since the fire and Jaguar Land Rover said they wouldn’t offer a replacement vehicle as they said, ‘we would be accepting responsibility’.
“The company have said they’re not going to investigate the car fire and they’re now closing the case.
“I have no idea if this is due to the current freeze or if this is just the way Jaguar Land Rover sees is acceptable to treat customers that spend their hard earned cash in their vehicles.
“But we were lucky we weren’t in it, you’ve got to count your blessings!
“My 11 year old cocker spaniel has been quite ill since the fire too so that’s been quite worrying.
“He raised the alarm of the fire just before neighbours came banging at my door.
“He’s not been sleeping well and is very sensitive to noise, he’s also very worried and agitated when he’s been left alone.”
The fire that originally started in the Range Rover, rapidly spread causing a mass inferno.
It initially spread to Dominic’s work truck, which also caused a significant amount of damage.
The fire then began to build even further, spreading to the garage, which luckily is not connected to the Birch family home.
Trudie and Dominic were even concerned the blaze would reach their neighbour’s house, after it spread to their fence and trees.
Jaguar Land Rover staff at the Solihull plant are currently approaching a two-week period of halted production due to a decrease in demand – with another cease in production planned for the entire of December.
Dominic, 42, said: “Jaguar Land Rover don’t build quality anymore or care about their customers.
“I have been told by a fire investigator that in his opinion, it was down to an electrical fault in the Range Rover.
“Not only did Trudie’s car end up in complete ashes, it also took my car and our garage with it!”
A spokesman for Jaguar Land Rover said: “We have received notice from the customer of the incident and we are happy to investigate the matter, but to date the case has been under investigation by the customer’s insurers.
“As is practice, we have to be invited to be part of the insurer’s investigation, should we receive that invitation we will fully support any investigation.”