It's looking like a Ford Expedition may have been the cause of a fire among Hertz vehicles rented by the Secret Service during President Biden's recent Nantucket visit over Thanksgiving.
Several media reports say the fire, which involved five vehicles, appears to have first ignited in a white Ford Expedition. At least that's the focus for investigators, who have not yet offered an official determination. Local officials have said the fire was not suspicious.
2021 Ford Expeditions and Lincoln Navigators were subject to an urgent recall in May for a problem with the battery junction box. Ford said at the time the problem carried a fire risk, and advised owners to park the SUVs outside and away from structures or other vehicles. Ford devised a fix for the problem in July and said it could have all recalled vehicles repaired by September.
That, of course, is dependent on owners (or rental car companies) actually getting the vehicles in for the repair. It's unclear yet whether the Expedition in question got into the shop. Hertz told Automotive News, "We can confirm that a fire involving our vehicles occurred early the morning of Nov. 28, at the rental car overflow lot at Nantucket Memorial Airport. Fortunately, no one was injured. We are working with the local authorities on their investigation."
The Secret Service also released a statement Thursday:
"The Secret Service had rented the vehicles for the President's trip and dropped the SUVs off at HERTZ on Sunday night. We were made aware of one Ford SUV catching fire early Monday morning. That SUV was parked next to several other vehicles which also caught fire because of the proximity to the Ford SUV.
"We had no issues when we drove the vehicles and they were returned without incident. The Ford SUV that caught fire was a Secret Service support vehicle and not used to transport any protectees. We look forward to following up with local fire authorities on their review of the incident."
The cars rented by Biden's detail also included a Chevy Suburban, a Ford Explorer, a Jeep Gladiator, and an Infiniti QX80.