Parked BMW catches fire, spreads flames through Wesley Chapel home

WESLEY CHAPEL, NC — A BMW, turned off in the garage, burst into flames, which spread and ripped through a Union County home Friday afternoon.

[IMAGES: Massive fire at Wesley Chapel home]

The Union County fire marshal said it didn't take long to determine what caused the massive fire on Couples Court in Wesley Chapel.

Pictures from Chopper 9 showed the blaze got through the roof and caused heavy damage.

"The vehicle is where the fire started,” Fire Marshal Kevin Rigoli said.

The reason the car suddenly caught fire remains a mystery.

"We can't tell you the entire chain of events,” Rigoli said. Investigators are “just looking at fire movement, intensity patterns, damage and things like that."

Officials said the homeowner opened the garage door to get inside her car to run errands when she faced powerful flames consuming her vehicle.

“She closed the garage door, exited the home and called 911 from a neighbor's house,” Rigoli said.

Firefighters responded quickly, but the fire was so aggressive it took 40 firefighters and about 80,000 gallons of water to extinguish the flames.

Last year, BMW issued two recalls covering about 1 million vehicles for fire-related issues.

An ABC investigation found more than 40 cases in the last five years where BMW owners claimed their cars suddenly caught fire while parked and turned off.

“She's got great friends and neighbors supporting her right now,” Rigoli said.

Rigoli said investigators will know by Monday if the BMW was under a recall.

The recall affects the 3 series, 5 series, X-5, x-3 and Z-3 models.

Officials said the engine in some models can short circuit and melt. In other models, faulty wiring can cause the heating and air conditioning to overheat.

Dealers will replace parts starting Dec. 18.