A white BMW is seen on fire at the KFC parking lot on Monday evening January 13. Two other cars also got damaged from the fire. Two units came from the Montego Bay Freeport Fire department to put out the blaze. Alan Lewin photo
  • Luxury vehicle mysteriously goes up in flames

Scores of curious onlookers, who would have usually been focused on getting their orders from the busy KFC Howard Cooke branch, could not peel their eyes away from the sight of a luxury vehicle – a BMW 320d, which had mysteriously and spontaneously caught fire in that fast food outlet’s parking lot. The bizarre incident unfolded on Monday evening, January 13.

The vehicle was said to have been parked at the venue for nearly four hours before its mysterious combustion.

According to an eyewitness, who observed the blaze and sprung into action with other onlookers to stop the fire from spreading, other vehicles were damaged, despite their best efforts. “While those other vehicles sustained significant damage, we were able to push a blue Suzuki Swift motorcar out of harm’s way. It only received minor fire damage,” the eyewitness, who spoke on condition of anonymity, shared.


Although the fire’s impact was curtailed as a result of the actions of the brave onlookers, other observers at the scene felt the situation could have been worse, and the slow response of the Jamaica Fire Brigade would have aided in that, had regular civilians not intervened.

“When the fire first started, we called the Jamaica Fire Brigade almost right away, and it took them very long to come, although they are just one mile away at Freeport,” an irate observer shared. “If it was not for a man who connected a hose on the compound to a water supply and aimed it at the fire, another vehicle – a blue Toyota Corolla – could have gone up completely in flames too, which would have caused an even bigger fire.”

“It’s not unusual for people to come and park their vehicles here for long periods of time while they go off to do their business, but a car going up in flames like this is new,” shared one of the security guards on the Kentucky Fried Chicken property, who added that the outlet would soon be instituting paid parking.


Though it is unclear how many such incidents have occurred here on Jamaican soil, BMWs mysteriously combusting across the USA and in sections of Europe last year, and in 2018, prompted the luxury brand to issue a mass recall of some of its vehicles, some 1.6 million of them, which were found to have mechanical defects which increased the likelihood of the cars bursting into flames.

The recall specifically targeted vehicles made between 2010 and 2017.

The mechanical defects, according to the Munich-based company, occurs as a result of diesel vehicles’ coolant leaking from the exhaust gas recirculation module, part of the emissions reduction system. The leak then combines with soot at high temperatures, which usually lead to a fire.

It is uncertain if those circumstances led to the mysterious combustion in the KFC parking lot.