Belfast Telegraph

Driver left counting cost of 'inconclusive' car blaze probe

By Mark Bain

A car owner whose Vauxhall Mokka 4x4 mysteriously caught fire says she will be left out of pocket after an investigation failed to pinpoint the cause.

Tracy Whan-White, from Comber, Co Down, had only owned the vehicle for a few weeks when she took her son to the cinema in February.

While watching the film she received word that her car was ablaze. She said fire crews who attended the scene believe the blaze started in the car's engine.

After an "inconclusive" report from Vauxhall, Tracy fears her family face a hike in insurance through no fault of their own.

Now, almost three months later, Tracy is no further forward in finding out what happens next.

"I bought the car from Donnelly Group in Dungannon. They helped us with a courtesy car to get back on the road and told me I would have to go through the manufacturers," she said.

"But now Vauxhall have come back following their investigations and told me the result was inconclusive.

"According to them, that means they cannot be held responsible and they referred me to my insurers. I'm left without a car and with nowhere to turn to other than my own insurance, but I don't see why I should have to as the fire was no fault of mine. The fire brigade told me the fire started in the engine."

It is understood that Donnelly Group has been in regular contact with the family after referring them to the manufacturer, but the process has hit a dead end after Vauxhall UK confirmed its investigation failed to find the cause.

A statement said: "Vauxhall commissioned an independent forensic investigation into the cause of the fire. Although the findings were inconclusive, there was no evidence of a manufacturing or material defect. In accordance with our legal policy, the customer was referred back to their insurer."

A spokesperson for Donnelly Group told the Belfast Telegraph: "Donnelly Group has been in contact with and supported the customer since the incident and has facilitated the investigations which have been undertaken."

Tracy now says she feels left in limbo: "We're not sure where to go now. We just want someone to take responsibility for what caused the fire."

Belfast Telegraph

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