Automaker settles with Memphis owner as another Porsche bursts into flames

Published: Nov. 9, 2017 at 10:03 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 13, 2017 at 9:50 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Another Porsche has inexplicably burst into flames, just after the automaker reached a settlement with a Memphis woman whose Porsche caught fire.

Kim-An Hernandez of East Memphis, whose 2017 Porsche 718 Boxster spontaneously combusted outside a Midtown bake shop in May, said Porsche offered her a settlement. "Well, the claim has been resolved," she said. "I'm not allowed to disclose (the terms)." Porsche settled with her shortly after our story, which also revealed an active recall campaign on the '17 718 Boxster. The automaker recalled 4,000 units for sheared screws contributing to a fuel leak that posed a fire risk. Porsche settled with Hernandez even though her vehicle -- although the same year, make and model of the recall -- was not among the 4,000 units included in the recall.

But Hernandez is still talking about a pattern of fire problems with the '17 718 Boxster after what happened in Nashville.

In response to a WMC Action News 5 open records request, the Nashville Fire Department released four 911 calls made to Metro Nashville Fire & Police's emergency dispatch center around 1:30 p.m. September 22. The calls reported a Porsche on fire at the intersection of Lafayette Street and 4th Avenue, just off Interstate 40. "It looked like a convertible," one of the callers said. "The man is out of the car and motioning people to get to the other side of the road."

Another caller identified herself as Hazel Berger, the niece of the driver. After reaching Berger on the phone via call and text, she offered to share our contact information with her uncle, whom she declined to identify. He never returned our messages. Nashville Fire Department Public Information Officer Joseph Pleasant identified the vehicle's owner as Ann Bodnar of Franklin, Tennessee. Calls to Bodnar, to her family members and their business holdings were never returned. Both fire and police sources said the 911 calls are the only records of the fire. No one wrote a incident report identifying the model of the Porsche.

The WMC Action News 5 Investigators located a witness to the Nashville incident. Dana McLoughlin of suburban Nashville said he drove up to the charred Porsche shortly after Nashville firefighters had put out the blaze and left the scene. "It was burned behind the driver, just over the wheel," McLoughlin said.

"It's in the same spot as mine," Hernandez said. "Same end result."

We showed McLoughlin video and pictures of Hernandez's vehicle, both before and after her fire. "It looks just like (the Nashville vehicle)," he said. "Same color and everything. The indicator would point to the damage being in the same location, the same burned area as what I recognized on both vehicles."

"It's unbelievable," said Hernandez. "There's got to be some connection."

J. David Burkhalter, Porsche Cars North America's manager of product communications, was genuinely concerned and offered an inspection of Hernandez's vehicle in cooperation with her insurance company back in June. Despite providing Burkhalter copies of the Nashville 911 calls so Porsche could research the incident, he responded, "We have nothing further to share regarding the (Hernandez) case, and we have no other knowledge of the incident you describe in Nashville, so we cannot comment on that at all."

"I do not think Porsche has the best interest of their customers at heart," said Hernandez. "I just don't think they're doing everything that they should to address these serious safety concerns."

Consumers can run free recall checks by running their vehicle identification numbers (VIN) through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's recall database at

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