Woman says Cadillac’s heated seats caused fire, minutes before she put infant son inside

Posted at 6:50 PM, Jan 31, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-31 20:50:39-05

NOBLESVILLE, Ind. – An Indiana woman is looking for answers after her 2015 Cadillac CTS suddenly caught fire while it was warming up Sunday evening.

Lauren Rummell told WXIN she was preparing to leave her sister’s house in Greenfield with her 14-month-old son around 6:45 p.m., when she carried her son outside and saw smoke pouring from her parked car. Within seconds, the smoke had given way to visible flames coming from the main cabin of the car.

“I stood there and just watched it go up in flames and had them take my son inside,” Rummell said.

Rummell said she had remote-started the car less than five minutes before noticing the smoke and fire.

Photos taken after the fire show the whole interior of the car burned, with the front driver’s seat sustaining the heaviest damage.

A report filed by the Greenfield Fire Department determined the fire originated in the front two seats of the car. The cause was due to electrical malfunction or failure, the report said. Rummell said firefighters told her the heated seats appeared to be the cause of the fire.

“They hadn’t been turning on when I (remote) started my car,” Rummell said. “And they think maybe it’s because there was a short and it decided to come on this time, and it went (up) in flames.”

Rummell said the most frightening part was knowing that, if the fire started a few minutes later, she would have been driving the car with her young son in the back seat.

“The pictures of his car seat are chilling,” Rummell said. “It’s disgusting.”

After contacting her insurance company, Rummell said she contacted General Motors and the dealership where she bought the car, Ed Martin Chevrolet and Cadillac. She says the dealership and carmaker each gave her a case number to correspond with her claim. The cases have now been merged into a single case being handled by General Motors, she said.

“We have been contacted by the customer, who reported a fire in her 2015 Cadillac CTS,” GM spokesperson Tom Wilkinson said in an emailed statement. “We are looking into the incident and will provide the customer with updates.”

“I’m not a vengeful person. I’m not someone who tries to seek out, you know, to try to get anything," Rummell said. "I (just) don’t want that to happen to anybody else.”