MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - What's left of her vehicle is sealed as evidence for an insurance investigation and covered in the luxury car equivalent of a body bag, even as Kim-An Hernandez's vehicle horror story has rolled back the covers on a pattern of fire concerns with Porsche.
"It is a crime what happened," she said, staring at the wrapped and sealed remains of her 2017 Porsche 718 Boxster.
What happened, according to Hernandez, is that on May 13 her brand new, $80,000 Boxster -- barely tipping 5,000 miles on the odometer -- burst into flames as she started to pull it out of a Midtown Memphis parking lot.
"Completely engulfed. Fire and smoke everywhere," Hernandez said.
She was able to escape the vehicle, call 911, and grab fire extinguishers from the shop.
"I'm completely shaking, scared, trying to put out the fire," she recalled.
The WMC Action News 5 Investigators discovered several recall campaigns on the 2017 Porsche 718 Boxster. According to the recall database of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), one of those campaigns covers more than 4,000 units of that model Boxster. It involves a "fuel leak due to sheared fastening screws...(increasing) the risk of a fire."
"As an owner who just purchased this car, at no time was I ever notified or had any inkling that this was going on," said Hernandez.
We ran her Boxster's vehicle identification number (VIN) through the recall databases of both NHTSA and CARFAX. Both databases indicated her Boxster, even though it falls within the year, make and model of the fire hazard recall, is not specifically included in the recall.
"I find it impossible to believe," she said.
J. David Burkhalter, manager of product communications for Porsche Cars North America, Inc., wrote in an email that the company wants to inspect Hernandez's vehicle:
"We would like to inspect her car and regret that we have not been able to do so. We will continue our efforts to make the necessary arrangements with the insurance company, and we hope to have the opportunity to perform a detailed inspection soon. Without an inspection, we simply cannot know what caused this fire and therefore cannot comment on the specifics, other than to say this is a one-off incident that bears careful study. This incident is so unusual that we did offer to take her car back and compensate her in a way we thought was fair. We are sorry that as yet we have not been able to come to terms."
"Their current offer is for $5,000 toward the purchase of my next Porsche," countered Hernandez. "Meanwhile, I'm still paying on this one, which is totaled. They have not made any offer to stop those payments. They've made no offers to loan me a car."
Hernandez said the dealer of her vehicle offered to loan her a 2017 Porsche Macan GTS, but then pulled it after it was determined that particular model also carried a recall campaign for a potential fire hazard.
Always check a vehicle's recall history with SaferCar.gov or CARFAX before buying. We will continue to monitor concerns with these Porsche models.