A fire at Nantucket airport that destroyed five vehicles rented to Joe Biden’s Secret Service detail by Hertz may have started in an SUV that was subject to a safety recall, investigators believe.
The blaze erupted less than 24 hours after Mr Biden’s security detail returned the vehicles and briefly shut down Nantucket Memorial Airport early on Monday after it spread to within 40 feet of fuel tanks.
No one was injured and the blaze was not suspicious, Nantucket Fire Chief Michael Cranson told the Nantucket Current.
An investigation by the Nantucket Fire Department is focused on a Ford Expedition SUV that was under a safety recall by the carmaker due to a faulty battery junction box, according to the Current.
A Hertz spokeswoman confirmed in a statement to The Independent the fire had started in one of its vehicles.
“Fortunately, no one was injured. We are working with the local authorities on their investigation,” the spokeswoman said.
The Hertz spokeswoman did not address why a vehicle under safety recall had been rented out, or how many other vehicles in its fleet were subject to recalls.
In a statement to The Independent, Secret Service spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said the vehicles were rented from Hertz and the car rental company is investigating.
Mr Guglielmi told the news site that neither the president nor his family travelled in the vehicles that were destroyed in the blaze.
Secret Service agents who used the cars reported no safety concerns during their Nantucket visit and the agency not aware how the fire started, he said.
In May, Ford announced it was recalling more than 66,000 Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator SUVs built between July 2020 and August 2021. It recommended owners park their Ford Expeditions outside and away from structures, and contact their dealer to arrange a service.
Consumer Reports that Ford had received reports of 21 engine fires in the affected vehicles, and had not yet identified the cause of the fires.
The blaze was spotted on the airport CCTV system at 5.22am on Monday, the airport said in a statement.
CCTV footage showed firefighters dampening down the smouldering remains of several vehicles including a Chevy Suburban, a Ford Explorer, an Infiniti QX80, a Ford Expedition, and a Jeep Gladiator.
Officers from the Nantucket fire and police departments responded to the blaze.
Mr Biden spent Thanksgiving weekend at the exclusive Massachusetts island with his family.