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BMW seat heater malfunctions burning boy and inflicting fireplace

WOBURN (CBS) – The scent of smoke is burned into Lisa Montanaro’s thoughts. As she drove dwelling to Woburn from Pennsylvania three weeks in the past, after her six-year-old Nico asleep in his booster seat, she began to scent one thing humorous. “My eyes began to burn,” she mentioned.

After a couple of extra minutes, she determined to tug off the freeway, test on the automotive, and fill the gasoline tank.

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“I don’t know, mom’s instinct,” Lisa defined. “I don’t know, there was simply one thing that was off.”

A defective seat heater burned a boy from Woburn (Picture credit score Lisa Montanaro)

She was proper — when she went within the backseat to test on Nico and pulled his pillow out from behind him, the automotive crammed with smoke. “I began freaking out,” she defined. “I had gasoline being pumped into my automotive on the time. Screaming at my son to get out of the automotive, get him out, cease pumping the gasoline.”

The pillow was burned to the seat, and when Lisa ripped it off, it revealed a gaping gap in each the pillow and the automotive’s rear seat. Nico bought a small burn on his hand when she ripped him from the automotive. His sweatshirt and elements of his blanket had melted collectively.

Lisa Montanaro maintain son’s pillow burned by defective BMW seat heater (WBZ-TV)

That’s when Lisa realized that earlier than his nap, Nico had turned on the rear seat heater, and it had clearly malfunctioned. “It’s been an excellent automotive up till then,” she mentioned. “I imply in 1,000,000 years we by no means thought something like that might occur.”

Auto security professional Sean Kane of Security Analysis and Methods says seat heater malfunctions are usually not widespread, however not unparalleled both. “They aren’t widespread, however they’re definitely identified and have been topic to a lot of recollects through the years,” he mentioned. “Sometimes, they don’t lead to critical accidents or fatalities, which is the excellent news. The results of that’s usually occasions incidents go unreported particularly if the supplier or producer decides to repair the car for somebody.”

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Nonetheless, Kane says these malfunctions will be harmful. “The actual fact is, you’re driving a car and also you get smoke contained in the car,” Kane mentioned. “That may be actually problematic and might result in a crash as effectively.”

Lisa Montanaro felt that worry as soon as her feelings settled. “If I didn’t pull over and he had woken up on his personal, he would’ve gotten up and regardless of how he moved he would’ve moved that pillow and he more than likely would’ve burned himself and would’ve been screaming,” she mentioned. “I don’t know the way panicky I might’ve gotten. It may’ve ended up lethal for all I do know.”

A defective seat heater burned a boy from Woburn (Picture credit score Lisa Montanaro)

Nico instructed his mother and father he’ll by no means nap within the automotive once more, and Lisa and her husband Tony say they’ll by no means drive the 2013 BMW X5 once more. They’re utilizing a loaner automotive whereas the dealership works out the following steps.

“I feel for any automotive that has heating coils, {that electrical} element,” Tony defined. “For those who’re out on an extended automotive trip, you’re in danger that automotive catching fireplace.”

The Montanaros say they needed to share their story to not disgrace the automotive firm, however to unfold consciousness.

“We take a number of lengthy automotive rides,” Tony mentioned. “Do I’ve to fret about my child being on fireplace? I don’t wish to should file that lawsuit ever.”

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WBZ reached out to BMW for a remark however didn’t hear again.

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