The following was released by State Fire Marshal Stephen D. Coan’s office. For more information, contact Jennifer Mieth, 978-567-3189
Sudbury Fire Chief William L. Miles, Sudbury Police Chief Scott Nix and State Fire Marshal Stephen D. Coan said the September 22, 2014 fire at Herb Chambers Land Rover Jaguar of Sudbury located at 83 Boston Post Road was most likely due to a mechanical malfunction in a motor vehicle, but because the malfunction cannot be specified, the cause will remain undetermined.
The dealership fire that damaged or destroyed 19 vehicles and caused $500,000-$750,000 in damage, originated in a 2004 Jaguar XJ8 that was undergoing repairs from a previous fire that occurred elsewhere. After the first fire, tow operators reconnected the battery disconnected by firefighters during suppression, in order to release an electronic brake, and noticed smoke, so the battery was quickly disconnected again. At the dealership, some repair work had been done with additional work planned. The car was parked on the lot overnight with the battery connected and no signs of fire or smoke. Whether the dealership fire was caused by the original mechanical malfunction that the mechanics working on the car had not yet identified, or another electrical or mechanical failure, cannot be determined. Jaguar sent experts to try to determine the exact malfunction, who were unable to do so because of the severe destruction of the car.
There is no evidence to suggest that the fire was intentionally set. The fire was jointly investigated by the Sudbury Fire Department, Sudbury Police Department and State Police assigned to the Office of the State Fire Marshal.
2,502 Motor Vehicle Fires Account for 8% of All Reported Fires
In 2012, there were 2,502 motor vehicle fires reported in Massachusetts. They caused six, or 15%, of the civilian fire deaths, 17 civilian injuries, nine fire service injuries, and an estimated property damage of $15.4 million. Motor vehicle fires accounted for 8% of total reported fire incidents.
Fire Data Shared with NHTSA
All fires are reported to the Massachusetts Fire Incident Reporting System (MFIRS) which is part of the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) which in turns shares data with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). NHTSA analyses vehicle fire data to spot trends and problems that might warrant further investigation by their agency.