MCMINNVILLE, Ore. -- A McMinnville family awoke to explosions in their driveway Wednesday morning.
The 2000 Ford Expedition caught fire at 5 a.m. about eight hours after it had been parked in front of the home.
Robert Howard is a volunteer firefighter and jumped into action when burning rubber started flying everywhere.
“That was my beautiful truck there,” said Robert Howard as he looks at a charred hunk of metal that used to be his SUV.
“I heard a really big boom and thought someone was breaking into the house,” said Christine Howard. “I ran into my girl’s room and looked out the window to see flames at least 20 feet into the air,” Howard said. “My garage door was open about a foot and flaming rubber shot under the door and hit this pile of wood flooring,” said Howard.
He called 9-1-1, then used a fire extinguisher to keep the entire home from burning until firefighters arrived.
Investigators have ruled out arson and said the exact cause of the fire is unknown. However, they do know where it started.
“It started in the motor compartment and there are no signs of human involvement,” said McMinnville Fire Chief Rich Leipfert.
It turns out the 2000 Ford Expedition is among a long list of Ford vehicles recalled because of fire risk.
Millions of Ford vehicles been recalled over the past 10 years because of a defective cruise control switch that can spark fires even when vehicles are parked and not running.
The faulty switch can leak hydraulic fluid, overheat, smoke and then burn according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Ford is sending out a team to examine the burned out vehicle and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is also investigating following a phone call to the agency.
“Who in the world thinks their rig automatically starts on fire by itself?” questioned Howard. “Well, I guess they do.”
Just last week, Ford recalled another 4.5 million vehicles because of the same faulty switch. Over the past 10 years there have been eight separate Ford recalls and 285 confirmed fires relating to the faulty switch.