A Mercedes-Benz EQE Sedan caught fire and burned to a crisp inside a Florida homeowner's garage last week, severely damaging the building.
The 2023 Mercedes-Benz EQE 350+ Sedan was in the garage when it caught fire on July 19. According to Jennifer Ruotolo, the EV was a loaner from Mercedes-Benz while her own car was getting serviced. She told News4Jax that the luxury electric sedan wasn't even charging when it burst into flames – she doesn't own a home charging unit.
"It was parked in the garage, about 22 hours and then it caught fire. I was at work. About 8:30 and my husband heard a hiss and a pop, and he went into the garage full of smoke. It engulfed in flames and exploded," the Nocatee, Florida resident said.
Footage shared by News4Jax showed the garage covered in huge flames, while photos showed the aftermath of the fire, including the completely destroyed vehicle, the devastated garage, and the damage caused to the rest of the house, which is now filled with soot.
Jennifer Ruotolo estimated the damages to her home to be well over a million dollars but said the most important thing is that her family is safe. Her husband was right on the next side of the wall when the fire started, but he emerged unscathed, as did the family dog.
The St. Johns County Fire Rescue is still investigating the exact cause of the fire and urged EV owners be aware of the potential risks associated with lithium-ion batteries.
Mercedes-Benz issued the following statement regarding the incident (via Carscoops).
"Any time we receive a report of such an incident, we take the matter very seriously. In this case, we will work with appropriate officials and experts to immediately seek to determine the root cause so that appropriate next steps can be taken. Please understand that as our investigation is on-going, we are not in a position to comment further at this time."
It's worth noting that the Mercedes-Benz EQE was subject to a recall issued in May for a high-voltage battery software error. More specifically, the high-voltage battery monitoring system does not alert the driver of a battery malfunction, which may increase the risk of an injury. Mercedes said its dealers would update the battery management system software, free of charge.
It's not clear whether the EQE loaner that burned in Florida was part of the recall, but the chances are very slim considering that only 2 EQE 350+ Sedans were recalled for this issue.