Vehicle owners and fire departments across the country are asking BMW to explain how some parked cars could suddenly burst into flames.
An ABC News investigation airing today on Good Morning America, World News Tonight with David Muir and Nightline discovered dozens of incidents in which the luxury cars caught fire even though owners reported they had parked their cars and turned them off.
After initially saying they were unaware of any such incidents, a BMW spokesman says the company has investigated the fires brought to its attention by ABC News and has “not seen any pattern” related to a “product defect.”
For one such owner, Bill Macko, BMW wasn’t just a car. It was an identity.
The 55-year-old small business owner says he had bought seven luxury vehicles from the German automaker since 2000. He was a dues-paying member of the BMW Car Club of America, so he read BMW magazines, carried BMW luggage and wore BMW clothes. He was such a BMW enthusiast that he became, he says, a kind of unofficial brand ambassador, introducing so many new customers to the local BMW dealership that the salesmen occasionally cut him a check for his services.
“I was an aficionado,” Macko said. “I had brought so many people on board to BMWs, it was crazy. Everybody knew that I loved them so much … I mean, I lived the product, you know?”
On the night of Dec. 1, 2015, however, Macko says his 2008 BMW X5 suddenly and inexplicably caught fire as it sat parked in his garage in Olney, Maryland. Macko’s wife had just returned from a short drive, parked the car and turned it off. She entered the house and told Macko she noticed a strange smell in the car, and when Macko walked into the garage to check it out, he arrived just in time to hear a “snap, crackle, pop” and see the car burst into flames.
Macko and his wife ran from the house as the fire engulfed the garage and spread throughout both the lower and upper floors. Dozens of firefighters arrived to…