Vauxhall Zafira B: London fire callouts 'spike'

A Vauxhall car on fire near a level crossing in London Image copyright PA
Image caption London Fire Brigade said the sharp rise in recorded incidents was a "worrying trend"

Callouts to fires involving Vauxhall Zafira B cars have doubled since 2012, London Fire Brigade (LFB) has said.

Figures show a "spike" in reports of the model, recently the subject of a recall, catching alight, LFB said.

Although other car firms may record more fires over a 12-month period, the upsurge in Zafira-related calls was "more worrying", it said.

Vauxhall said affected cars were made between 2005 and 2007, and faults would have come to light in subsequent years.

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The brigade found no more than 10 Zafira fires a year between 2009 and 2012, but 24 in 2013 alone.

There were 28 incidents last year, and 21 between January and November 2015, according to the figures.

Image copyright .

Earlier this year Vauxhall found the root cause of the problem was the improper repair of the heater fan resistor's thermal fuse, which protects the system.

The firm is writing to 220,000 Zafira B owners, instructing them to have their car's heating and ventilation system inspected by a local dealer.

Sue Freemantle, 37, from Ivybridge in Devon, who escaped from her vehicle with three children before it burst into flames, said the figures were "shocking".

She said: "My fear is somebody leaves their child in the car to go and pay for their petrol and all of a sudden something starts then. Our worst fear is that a child dies."

Denis Chick, from Vauxhall, said the problem was "not a design fault, but a maintenance issue" and related to attempting to repair a broken fuse rather than replace it.

He said: "Between 2013 and now there are more of these models available, which has increased the number of vehicles coming into this problem."

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