West Palm attorney escapes Jeep Grand Cherokee fire

West Palm attorney escapes Jeep Grand Cherokee fire

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A West Palm Beach attorney says he barely made it out alive when his Jeep Grand Cherokee suddenly caught fire near the roof.

"I was thinking that my car was going to explode and I needed to get out before I died," Brian Balaguera said.

Balaguera says he was driving to court in Fort Lauderdale when smoke started billowing from the car.

The fire appears to have started in the headliner of the car, according to a fire report.

"I looked out my left window and I saw smoke. I looked to my right and I saw smoke. And I looked up and I saw smoke," Balaguera said.

According to the fire report, the 2012 Jeep was recalled to remedy a fire hazard.

A Jeep spokesman says the SUV did have the recall repairs.

But Balaguera has doubts. He bought the car used about six months ago.

"Obviously, they didn't fix the wiring on the car because I almost caught on fire and my car almost blew up," Balaguera said.

The Better Business Bureau president says consumers have to do their own research when it comes to recalls.

"Currently, under the law, there is not a requirement for disclosure so that is why it is important for you, as a consumer, to do your own research," Better Business Bureau President Rod Davis said.

But Balaguera's issue is more complex because Jeep claims the recall was fixed.

"It is a very dangerous issue. I'm lucky to be alive. Lucky I got out of the car. And lucky I was able to think fast and avoid a catastrophe," Balaguera said.

To see if your car has a recall alert, you can visit www.safercar.govand put in your car's VIN number.

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