Avon man says he watched his car burst into flames

Posted at 7:42 PM, Jul 24, 2018

An Avon man calls it a crisis, a dangerous situation with his car. How it happened combined with the response from the car company has him speaking out.

“[I was] looking for a safe reliable car that I thought would work well for my family,” Mike Kish said about why he bought his new 2016 Audi Q5 a couple of years ago. "What I thought was a reliable, safe car turned into a bit of a nightmare for sure."

Kish and his family had been on vacation. While driving back from Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, he got off on the exit at Stearns and Lorain. That's when he said he saw smoke coming from the car.

"I just thought it was one of those things, but then it started to billow pretty quickly," Kish said.

He told us his wife and 10-year-old daughter jumped out. His wife got their 1-year-old out, too.

"Essentially, by the time we got to the curb, it had burst into flames and ultimately exploded,” Kish said.

The family went to a nearby Dollar General store for help. Kish's 10-year-old was very upset. He and the manager of the store tried to calm her down.

"She was writhing on the floor, really screaming, crying," Kish said.

He said police responded quickly to the scene and he saw an officer running to the flaming car.

"I'm sprinting back to try to get him away from the car saying we're all out of the car, just stay back, and this is while there's mini-explosions going on."

Thankfully, no one was hurt.

The following day, Kish started researching possible problems with Audi vehicles.

"So, I start Googling in the morning, the next morning. My wife comes in with the mail,” Kish said.

The day after the fire happened, he got a letter from Audi. It was a recall notice on a coolant pump that can "overheat" and "may lead to a fire."

News 5's research shows the recall came out in mid-April. Kish got the letter in mid-June.

The letter said the "repair is not yet available" and Audi will "begin repairs in late 2018."

In the meantime, “Audi recommends parking your vehicle outdoors as a precaution."

"To me, you're playing Russian Roulette with people's lives at that point,” Kish said.

The recall affects nearly 1.2 million cars involving certain A4's, A5's, A6's and, like Kish's, Q5's.

We found a study from that reports from 1985 to 2016 Volkswagen —which is the parent company of Audi — had the worst recall rate among all car makers in the study.

With Kish’s recall, he's concerned now. 

"They don't even propose a solution for many, many months,” Kish said. “To me, there's an ethical crisis."

News 5 has made multiple attempts to contact Audi for comment. No one has gotten back to us.

Here are the specifics of the recall, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. Meanwhile, Kish’s Facebook post about his experience has thousands of views and hundreds of shares.