Ford Expedition Blamed For Secret Service Rental Vehicles Catching On Fire Over Thanksgiving

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No one was harmed but the SUV was part of a recall that had yet to be done.

A Ford Expedition appears to be the cause of a multi-vehicle fire that ended up destroying several rental vehicles used by the Secret Service during President Biden's Thanksgiving family vacation to the island of Nantucket. According to NBC Boston, a total of five rental vehicles suffered "significant" damage in a "large car fire" that broke out at the Nantucket Memorial Airport early Monday morning. The vehicles were part of a fleet rented from Hertz and were returned less than a day before the fire.

Authorities are still investigating the precise cause, but the evidence so far points to the Expedition SUV, which was one of the rented vehicles. It turns out the Expedition was under a safety recall because of a faulty battery that's been blamed as the source of other vehicle fires.

The SUV had been scheduled to be serviced, but that was evidently not done in time. For its part, Ford says it's been made aware of the situation and is cooperating with authorities.

Nantucket Current/Twitter
Nantucket Current/Twitter
Nantucket Current/Twitter

A Secret Service spokesperson also confirmed that Hertz is investigating as well but the law enforcement agency itself is not involved. Federal officials also confirmed neither President Biden nor his family members rode in any of the destroyed vehicles. These vehicles included a Chevy Suburban, Ford Explorer, Infiniti QX80, a Jeep Gladiator, and the Expedition.

The local fire chief, Michael Carson, said the fire probably started in the Expedition and quickly spread to those other parked vehicles. "There is nothing to lead us to believe it was intentionally started," Carson said. "The investigation is pretty much complete. There was too much damage to determine an exact cause, so it's going to go down as undetermined. It appears to have started in the engine compartment, but whether it was a battery issue, a fuel line issue, we don't know."

2022-2023 Ford Expedition Frontal Aspect Ford
2022-2023 Ford Expedition Rear Angle View Ford
2022-2023 Ford Expedition Side View Ford

A Hertz spokesperson added the following: "We can confirm that a fire involving our vehicles occurred early the morning of November 28, at the rental car overflow lot at Nantucket Memorial Airport. Fortunately, no one was injured. We are working with the local authorities on their investigation."

The fires took place around seven hours after they were returned.

Last spring, Ford recalled roughly 40,000 units of the Expedition and Lincoln Navigator powered by the 3.5-liter V6 after at least 16 incidents were reported of fires beginning in the rear of the engine bay on the passenger side. At the time, a cause had yet to be determined. The recall was then extended to 66,221 vehicles, with the fires in 21 vehicles (18 of which were owned by rental companies at the time) starting in the battery junction box.

2022-2023 Ford Expedition Central Control Panel Ford
2022-2023 Ford Expedition Dashboard Screen Ford
2022-2023 Ford Expedition Gearbox Controls Ford
Source Credits: NBC Boston

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