7 car fire in Najomtien not arson, police rule

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Authorities have determined that a Najomtien fire that started in a BMW and spread to six other vehicles was due to faulty wiring and not arson.

The Forensic Science Police Center Region 2 said the Oct. 14 blaze outside the Kritsada Golden Condotel Cliff & Park started in wire connections to the battery, a problem that had prompted BMW to recall the vehicle earlier.

Police forensic officials inspect the scene of the fire. Police forensic officials inspect the scene of the fire.

BMW announced in March that the battery cable in all its Series 5 and Series 6 sedans may have been improperly installed, leading to malfunctions ranging from the car not starting to fires. The company said it notified owners in writing about the need for the 30-minute fix, but owner Supat Ratanawathong, 51, either never got the warning or ignored it. He told police he’d owned the vehicle for only a month.

Six other cars, including a Lexus and a Toyota hybrid, were damaged or destroyed in the fire. Employees tried to douse the flames with a chemical retardant, but were unsuccessful. Owners believed initially the fire was intentionally set.