A man who was able to escape from his car that recently caught fire in Dubai has warned other motorists not to put their lives on the line by getting their cars repaired in “cheap garages”.
22-year old Pakistani national Rana Touqeer, had just collected his 2005 Prado from a workshop in Ras Al Khor for a test drive when motorists behind him signaled him to stop.
Toqueer, who works in the real estate industry, told Gulf News that his car was in the workshop as he had to have the whole engine replaced. “The garage guy told me the car was ready, so I paid for it and took it for a test drive.”
“I had barely driven 500 meters and I was about to take a U-turn when the guy behind me started honking. I slowed down and they told me my car was on fire. I was totally shocked,” he continued.
Touqeer’s car was just one of a least 10 vehicles that had caught fire in the UAE since the beginning of summer. According to him, he parked his car on the side and grabbed his fire extinguisher from the back of his car and attempted to douse the fire, but it didn’t help.
A driver on the other side of the road stopped to help him. He said that the driver told him to go back and even tried to extinguish the fire by himself, and other guys came and gave their fire extinguishers.
Though Dubai Civil Defence arrived and contained the fire within minutes, the car was already beyond recognition by then.
Touqeer narrated that he came to a garage for a full engine replacement for AED11,000 as he thought that agency repair would cost more than AED26,000. “My car just burnt in front of my eyes.”
Dubai Police took Touqeer’s Prado to the forensics department to figure out the root cause of the phenomenon.
In a statement, Thomas Edelmann from RoadSafetyUAE said that vehicle maintenance and inspection are critical to prevent vehicle fires. Research shows that 75 percent of vehicle fires are a result of poor maintenance, electrical or mechanical failures or malfunctions. Extreme heat is also found to aggravate car problems, and may lead to fires.
Though he could not generalize, Touqeer said that he would never go to car workshops that he’s unsure of anymore for repairs. He noted that it is wise to initially check the credentials and track record of the mechanics before trusting them.
“Now, I prefer to buy a brand new car, have it maintained by a trusted agency even if it’s a bit more expensive. Money doesn’t matter. Life matters. Since I have got a second life, I don’t want to waste it anymore.”