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Old 16th November 2008, 11:45   #1
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Default Swift Catches Fire

Posting the thread for a friend of mine. He does not have posting rights yet. His username: gmathai. Below is content sent by him.

"Maruti Swift Zxi vehicle (Owned by my father) caught fire while parked and locked at our residence at Kothamangalam (near Kochi, Kerala) on 9th November 2008. The incident happened in the evening at around 8:15 p.m. To our utter shock and disbelief, the engine compartment was engulfed in fire for about 15 minutes before we somehow managed to put out the fire. The engine compartment, the hood, the fender, bumper and even the tyres have melted on extreme temperatures. The front windshield also cracked under the heat. Thankfully, we were not using the vehicle when this incident occurred and no one was injured!

Even though we have heard about cars catching fire, this was a total shock for us and not expected from a product manufactured by a trusted and well known company like Maruti Suzuki. We have been a loyal customer of Maruti for the last 17 yrs. We owned a Maruti Omni for 14 yrs before buying this Swift in July 2005.

As soon as the incident occurred on Sunday (09-11-2008) the following were done -

1. We had contacted Popular Services.
2. Also called Maruti's Toll Free (1800 1800 180) number who directed to us to the nearest service center - Indus Motors, Muvatupuzha (Ernakulam Dist.)
3. On 10-11-2008, Service Engineer from Popular, Kothamangalam visited our home.
4. At 9:30 AM on 10-11-2008, A.S.I of Police, Kothamangalam visited our home (site) and issued the GD form.
5. At 11:30 AM on 10-11-2008, surveyor from insurance company visited the site.
6. At 5:30 PM, the vehicle was towed to Popular Services.
Currently the car is at the service center of POPULAR VEHICLES SERVICES LTD, Cochin.

Name, location and code of the Maruti service center:

POPULAR VEHICLES & SERVICES LTD.
NEAR LISI HOSPITAL
OPP. IMA BLOOD BANK
COCHIN
Maruti Dealer Code: 2701-04

We had raised a complaint with Maruti and requested for a contact person to discuss the issues. We were given a tracking number and were directed to the Regional Office, Cochin.

Yesterday (14-11-2008) my father met Mr. Balaji, Territory Manager at Regional Office, Cochin. His approach was much worse. On asking about cause of the fire, his only answer was there are no manufacturing defects. He didn't give a proper explanation for the cause. My father felt he was suspecting we had intentionally burnt the car.

Despite following up on each and every step, the insurance company (National Insurance) is raising issues on the veracity of the claim. They are saying the claim form was not collected within the stipulated time and giving other silly reasons for delaying the progress of claim. No one from Popular/ Maruti / National Insurance Company has been proactive in telling us about the procedure for closing out the issue.

The car catching fire itself was a big shock. Now the attitude and approach from service center, Maruti, and the Insurance Company are not at all satisfactory.

The car is under extended warranty and is a well maintained vehicle. Also services were done on time and done at Maruti Authorized Service centers. The majority of the services were done at POPULAR VEHICLES SERVICES LTD, Cochin. This is a fact agreed by the Territory manager.

We are totally shocked by this incident and our confidence in Maruti is lost forever.

We are attaching few snaps for your reference.

We would greatly appreciate if any one can direct us to a proper contact who can help us find the root cause of the issue, and get this matter resolved. "
Attached Thumbnails
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Swift Catches Fire-dsc02638.jpg  

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Old 16th November 2008, 12:43   #2
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Ghastly accident indeed.
Quote:
Originally Posted by joethomasv View Post
Despite following up on each and every step, the insurance company (National Insurance) is raising issues on the veracity of the claim. They are saying the claim form was not collected within the stipulated time and giving other silly reasons for delaying the progress of claim. No one from Popular/ Maruti / National Insurance Company has been proactive in telling us about the procedure for closing out the issue.
Quote:
The car is under extended warranty and is a well maintained vehicle. Also services were done on time and done at Maruti Authorized Service centers. The majority of the services were done at POPULAR VEHICLES SERVICES LTD, Cochin. This is a fact agreed by the Territory manager.
Going by these two statements, insurance company probably need to take forensic help to find out the real cause.
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Old 16th November 2008, 12:49   #3
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Sorry about the car bud,thankfully noone got hurt.
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Old 16th November 2008, 13:04   #4
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Man that is bad!!

Has the root cause be identified?

If Maruti is suspicious then they should do their own investigation and find out the reason before denying help! In case of fire issues usually the investigation is focused on 'if an accelerant' was used but in cases like this, it is useless as the presence of fuel (which is an accelerant) is inevitable.

Hopefully things will workout in the rightway in course of time, please do post updates.

Some info here: interFIRE, A site dedicated to improving fire investigation worldwide.
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Old 16th November 2008, 13:26   #5
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Sorry about the car mate,Hope the issue gets resolved soon....But by any chance was there any electrical work done on the car from your side at any local workshop or so(apart from MASS)...
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Old 16th November 2008, 13:47   #6
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there could be a short circuit which may happen if there are rats.
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Old 16th November 2008, 14:05   #7
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That looks really bad!
Were there any accesories fitted from outside in the recent past since you bought the car? If no, then you have your case, else they could attribute this to something external which was fitted.

Hope everything works out in your favor.
Thank God you people spotted this when you did, else it could have gotten a whole lot worse and even more serious.
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Old 16th November 2008, 14:11   #8
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Electrical works would be first culprit that would be looked at; and if that was done outside MASS, then surely those people will blame it squarely! But if not, a investigation is indeed required as to why a 3+ year old vehicle should suddenly catch fire!

Unfortunate about the attitude with regard to the insurance and the service center!

Hope things get sorted out soon!
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Old 16th November 2008, 14:28   #9
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Man, it's terrible!

To me it looks like the fire started near the Battery and spread towards the throttle body. The burn marks on the bonnet indicates that. It's definitely a short circuit and it seems that the main lead of the battery is the culprit. Rats? Or were there any aftermarket installations done?

You wouldn't believe it. A short circuit of the +ve lead (high gauge aftermarket wiring) from a 7Ah motorcycle battery almost completely melted the brass female spade connector attached to it's end within 3 to 4 secs when it contacted the frame of the bike. It happened to me while i was wiring the relay.
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Old 16th November 2008, 19:08   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by benbsb29 View Post
...Were there any accesories fitted from outside in the recent past since you bought the car? ...
Good question!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sankar View Post
....To me it looks like the fire started near the Battery and spread towards the throttle body. The burn marks on the bonnet indicates that. It's definitely a short circuit and it seems that the main lead of the battery is the culprit. ...
Absolutely agree. If you look at the picture of the top of the bonnet it seems quite apparent that the fire was an electrical one.

cya
R
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Old 16th November 2008, 19:42   #11
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Please provide more details

Was any electrical or fuel line repair carried out recently
Was it in a collision and fixed up
What kind of accesories does it have and who fitted it (horns, ICE etc)
Was the car running when this happend
Was it parked on the street or inside

Looking more like 'arson' to me.
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Old 16th November 2008, 19:58   #12
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Few of the questions are already answered.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mpower View Post
...Was the car running when this happend...
Nope; it was not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mpower View Post
...Was it parked on the street or inside...
It was in the parking, inside the house parking area.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mpower View Post
...Looking more like 'arson' to me.
Ouch! A bit harsh!

I would like to add one question:

After how many hours, since the last drive, did the car catch fire? Meaning, did the vehicle just come back from a drive or was it parked for few hours before it went up in fire?
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Old 16th November 2008, 20:08   #13
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this is ghastly. forensics should sort this out. the fire looks like to have started from the right side. so suspect battery, electicals etc. when was the last service done and any additions done to any part of the electrical??
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Old 16th November 2008, 22:02   #14
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Quote:
Thankfully, we were not using the vehicle when this incident occurred and no one was injured!
Could this be due to vandalism/arson? Else, for a stationary car, with engine switched off and cold, to catch fire suddenly, is a difficult proposition.
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Old 16th November 2008, 22:33   #15
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Does the work have to be done at popular?

I suppose national insurance already know the details, so even if you went to a more decent A S S centre who decide to help you out, it might not work.
But dont you think its worth trying?

Also,even if it was arson,isnt insurance supposed to cover for it?
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