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Posted on Fri, Dec 14, 2012 : 7:20 p.m.

Officials: Remote starter may have caused car fire

By John Counts

A Dexter man who started his Chevy Impala with a remote starter got a surprise when he tried to leave for work Friday morning.

The car was on fire.

The Dexter Area Fire Department was dispatched to the man's home in the 3500 block of Oliver Drive a 7:43 a.m. for the vehicle fire, Lt. Michael Grissom said.

By the time fire crews arrived, the man had already put the fire out with an extinguisher. Firefighters then dismantled parts of the vehicle to make sure the fire hadn't spread.

Grissom said the Impala was parked in the street when the man used the remote starter on his keypad from inside the house to warm the car up. After a few minutes, the man left the house to go to work.

"(The car) was full of smoke and there were flames going up the kick-plate," Grissom said.

Fire officials think the remote starter, which was added to the vehicle after it left the factory, could be to blame for the electrical fire.

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John Counts covers cops and courts for He can be reached at or you can follow him on Twitter.



Sun, Dec 16, 2012 : 4 a.m.

@ Jrileyhoff. Did you have an "After Market" starter? A car fire is a fearsome thing. Trust me on this! Stick with reliable UAW workers installing Genuine GM starter on Genuine GM automobiles and you will be O.K. UAW workers are dedicated to the meticulous discharge of their assembly responsibilities!!!

Kara McGilvray

Sat, Dec 15, 2012 : 10:53 p.m.

mine is a factory auto start.. not an after market... ... the cars are known to have a rear defrost issue, and when the auto start is kicked on, it activates defrosters to thaw out your windows before you need to leave... I am going with rear defroster... final answer


Sat, Dec 15, 2012 : 3:09 p.m.

You might want to consider that a lot of the stores that sell these remote starters do not have highly qualified staff installing them...


Sat, Dec 15, 2012 : 3:16 a.m.

Same thing happened to my car last winter. Luckily the fire was limited to the remote starter wires and quickly extinguished. Had the remote starter removed and the car is now fine.

Kara McGilvray

Sat, Dec 15, 2012 : 2:55 a.m.

hmmm... what year impala was it,. It makes me wonder because this very same thing just happened to my impala just a few days ago..... not even kidding, My husband started the car to let it warm up, and when he went out to check to see if it was warm it was also on fire...... although it burned right by where the fuse is for the rear defroster...... come on chevy.


Sat, Dec 15, 2012 : 5:07 a.m.

If you read the story completely you may have noticed that the remote starter in this case was added after the factory. Don't be so fast to blame Chevy and remember Chevy dealers are franchises not owned by the manufacturer.


Sat, Dec 15, 2012 : 2:21 a.m.

One example in which a remote possibility is also the likeliest one.

Ann English

Sat, Dec 15, 2012 : 1:15 a.m.

It does raise a question about insurance for one's car. Should you tell your insurance company when a remote starter is installed? Not every car can be locked if it's left running with no driver inside. Hope remote unlocking devices are always safe to use. Congratulations on putting the fire out, Impala owner. Hope the fire stayed a safe distance away from the gas tank. So near Noble Street, which got hit hardest by the Ides of March tornado; I trust that not just you, but all of your neighbors put lasting lessons from the tornado to use in your everyday lives.


Sat, Dec 15, 2012 : 2:40 p.m.

The systems are set up to shut the car off if the key is not put in the ignition and turned to the on position. The second you touch the break to put it in drive, the car shuts off.