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Video: Luxury EV catches fire, destroys Fla. house

The 2023 Mercedes Benz EQE350+ electric vehicle wasn’t being charged when it began to burn

By Madeleine Marr
Miami Herald

NOCATEE, Fla. — A 2023 Mercedes Benz EQE350+ electric vehicle suddenly caught fire last Wednesday morning at a home in Nocatee, Florida, and the dramatic conflagration was caught on video.

On Facebook, the St. Johns County Fire Marshall posted pictures and video of crews on the scene, saying the cause was under investigation. You can see the home’s light blue facade is now gray with soot, and the garage, where the $75,000 luxury sedan was parked, completely charred.

“Firefighters performed an interior fire attack with multiple hand lines brought it under control and extinguished the fire quickly,” said the caption.

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Underneath, in the comments, the homeowner, Jennifer Ruotolo, thanked the crews for their help and says that the home may not be salvageable.

In different bystander video taken from across the street before firefighters arrive, you can see the garage engulfed in flames with heavy black smoke shooting into the sky as sirens wail in the background.

Ruotolo told News Jax 4 she was using the Mercedes Benz as a loaner while her own car was being serviced and that it had been parked in her garage for just around 22 hours before it spontaneously ignited. The car was not charging at the time, she added.

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“I was at work,” Ruotolo told the outlet. “About 8:30 my husband heard a hiss and a pop, and he went into the garage full of smoke. It engulfed in flames and exploded.”

No one was injured in the fire, but damages to the home are estimated to be around $1 million.

Mercedes has previously issued a recall for the 2023 EQE350 models due to potential lithium ion battery malfunctions that might not alert drivers. The risks associated with it do not appear on the German company’s website.

“The EQE electrifies the essence of Mercedes-Benz values,” reads the description. “Leadership in user-friendly technology and earth-friendlier power. Satisfaction for driver and passengers alike.”

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Mercedes-Benz USA issued a statement regarding what happened with the Florida homeowners.

“The incident in Nocatee, Florida, is unfortunate and we are relieved that there are no reports of injury. 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,” it said. “We have contacted the customer to learn more details and will provide additional updates when available.”

Because the investigation is ongoing, the company had “no further comment” at this time.

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