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Vauxhall's free inspections over car fire fears

By Joanne Saweeney

Published 23/10/2015

Ian Sharratt’s car after the blaze
Ian Sharratt’s car after the blaze

Vauxhall car dealers in Northern Ireland are gearing up to provide free inspections of Zafira B models after more than 130 were reported to have burst into flames.

The British car manufacturer is investigating the cause of the problem, which is affecting some vehicles built between 2005 and 2014.

Around 225,000 of the cars were sold in the UK.

Co Down man David Pickles said his Zafira caught fire as he was driving on October 17.

The family - David, partner Naomi and children Lewis (11) and Corbin (2) - were left shocked by the blaze but unhurt.

Ian Sharratt from Donaghadee was the first motorist in Northern Ireland to publicly raise concerns about a possible fault in the popular seven-seater compact in the Belfast Telegraph last Saturday.

He and his two-year-old son Dex escaped from the car when it went on fire on July 8.

"It was really scary. The whole family should have been with me, and that's what really worried me afterwards about it," said Mr Sharratt.

He and fellow Co Down driver Mr Pickles are members of a Facebook campaign 'Vauxhall Zafira Car Fires', which has now collected more than 100 complaints from customers who reported some lucky escapes.

Vauxhall has just recently offered free inspections, even though it has been aware of the problem for several months.

While it is not known for definite what caused the fires, the reports are centred around the car's heating and ventilation system. Last night Vauxhall retail operator John Lyle from Ballyrobert Cars Ltd said: "We are doing all we can to carry out the instructions of Vauxhall in an efficient and timely manner. We have 10 free inspections scheduled at this stage."

The Zafira B fitted with climate control (automatic as opposed to manual air conditioning) is not affected, and neither are the new 2014 Tourer models, said Vauxhall.

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