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Vauxhall recalls 220,000 Zafira B cars over fire worries

Vauxhall Zafira fire Image copyright SWNS
Image caption One Zafira owner, a mother from Wiltshire, said smoke turned into flames within 30 seconds

Vauxhall has announced a recall of 220,000 Zafira B cars, following a series of fires.

Around 200 fires have been reported, which started behind the glove-box in the heating and ventilation system.

Vauxhall's recall followed an investigation by the BBC's Watchdog programme.

The model affected is the Zafira B, built between 2005 and 2014. The cars are all right-hand drive, and have manual, or no air conditioning.

The company said faulty repairs to the heating and ventilation system were probably to blame.

In a statement from chairman and managing director Rory Harvey, Vauxhall said its initial investigations had shown "improper repair of the blower motor resistor and its thermal fuse".

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Media captionVauxhall chairman and managing director Rory Harvey explains the recall directly to his customers

Among those whose Zafiras have burst into flames is Lisa Taperek, from Wiltshire.

She was outside her mother's house in Wooton Bassett on Tuesday this week when she noticed smoke coming from the engine of her Vauxhall Zafira.

Within 30 seconds of getting 10-month-old son Kinsley to safety the car became engulfed in flames, she said.

"When I play it back in my mind and think 'if I had run into a shop, or left him in the car', it makes me quite sick.

I am very lucky - he's very lucky," she said.

A Facebook group set up by Zafira owners to alert other drivers has attracted more than 12,000 members.

Vauxhall will now send out letters to 220,000 owners, advising them to get in touch with their local dealer.

They will be offered a free inspection and repairs.

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Media captionMechanic Brian Miller gives safety advice after Vauxhall Zafira-B cars burst into flames

Vauxhall said it had taken engineers some time to investigate the issue, as many of the vehicles they examined had been damaged "beyond investigation".

It also did not want to speculate too soon about the cause of the problem.

However, Mr Harvey said the company was investigating "very thoroughly and with the utmost urgency".

Letters will begin to go out to owners from 12 November.

In the meantime drivers were advised not to use the heating or air conditioning system.

"If you have any concerns about it, don't use the heater on the vehicle," mechanic Brian Miller told the BBC.

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