Teen’s car bursts into flames weeks after purchase

The front half of the car was destroyed in the blaze. Picture: contributed
The front half of the car was destroyed in the blaze. Picture: contributed
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DELIGHT at buying her first ever car turned to terror for a city teenager after the vehicle burst into flames just weeks after she purchased it.

Georgie Hunter, 19, had been driving her Fiat 500 Pop just hours before she heard the sound of a fire crackling outside her bedroom window and peered out to see her car engulfed in flames.

Emergency services rushed to Georgie’s Southhouse home in the early hours and took 30 minutes to douse the blaze that was raging on the shell of the car.

Insurance investigators later said the devastating fire had been caused by an electrical fault.

The teenager, who works in the Capital as a mobile beautician, said she had been thrilled to drive her first car off the lot at Arnold Clark Seafield. The three-year-old motor had 24,000 miles on the clock and seemed a bargain at £6000.

But around six weeks after she got it, the car started to make alarming noises.

“I was driving home on Sunday, and the engine started making this sound like it was going to blow up,” Georgie said.

“I pulled over and jumped out of the car and let it cool down, and I was terrified to get back in.”

Eventually, she was forced to get back behind the wheel and drive the car home. But the following night, her fears were realised.

Georgie had only just gone to bed when she heard the crackling of flames outside her Southhouse home. When she peered out of her window, she saw the bonnet of her car alight.

“I ran outside and called 999,” she said.

“It was out of control. The front half of the car was basically gone, and the interior had melted. I just couldn’t help but think, what if I had been in that car when that happened?

“I’d only been driving it a few hours before – it’s absolutely 
terrifying.”

A fire service spokeswoman said emergency crews had to use two high-pressure hoses to put out the fire, which raged from 2.00-2.30am.

“The council came and took away the remains,” Georgie said. “But I’m still in shock at what happened.

“If that would have happened while I was driving, I could be dead.”

Georgie isn’t the only Fiat 500 owner whose car has caught fire thanks to a wiring fault.

Last year, one Canadian driver had a similar close call after his 2011 model burst into flames at the side of the road.

But now, Georgie says she feels as if she’s in limbo trying to discover who is at fault for the fire – as it remains unclear whether the episode should have been protected under warranty.

She had been offered a 
service after a dashboard light started blinking, but a mix-up over whether she was eligible to get a temporary replacement car – the company regulations mean they only offer courtesy cars to customers over 21 – meant she drove away without having the car examined.

A spokeswoman for Arnold Clark said the dealership was currently in the process of resolving the matter.

She added: “We are currently in the final stages of resolution with the customer and have scheduled a date and time in the very near future to communicate this to her. Until then we will be unable to offer a further comment on the current situation.

“We do however look forward to our meeting with the customer and to reaching a positive outcome regarding this case.”