Firestone Tire Blowout submitted by Pat S.
Narrative of Events of 9/8/2000 by Donald R. S.
On the morning of September 8, 2000, while vacationing, we stopped at a Ford dealership in Butte, Montana as we were concerned that the tires on our 1996 Ford Thunderbird may have been part of the Firestone recall. We asked the Ford dealership to inspect our tires and to check our tires against the recall list. Our concern stemmed from the fact that the tires were the original, factory installed tires. After a brief inspection of the tires, the dealership assured us that our P215/70/R15 high performance tires were not included on that list and that they looked okay. We proceeded approximately 50 miles east on the interstate towards Bozeman, at which time I heard a light thumping noise coming from the rear of the vehicle. I immediately took my foot from the accelerator. Within 3 to 5 seconds of my deceleration, the left rear tire exploded and our car swerved from the right lane to the left lane, back to the right lane until I regained control and brought the vehicle to a stop. Upon inspection of the blown tire, I observed the interfacing of the tire to be totally separated from the main tire body (see photos provided).
I changed the tire with my spare and drove into Bozeman, where I contacted the local Ford dealership. They said they could not handle it, and we should go to the Firestone dealership down the street. At the Firestone dealership, the manager informed us that because our tires were not on the official recall list, there was nothing they could do; however, he did give me the Firestone Consumer Affairs "800" number. I called the "800" number and spoke with a representative. She indicated that since the tire was not on the recall list, there was nothing Firestone would do. I told her I would contact my legal counsel, at which point she said "Please stay on the line" and put us on hold. After about 10 to 15 seconds I was disconnected. I recalled and could not get through to Consumer Affairs department. At that time we decided to purchase new tires so we could safely continue on our trip.
At Costco Wholesale in Bozeman, Montana, the tire service department inspected the blown tire and verified that "blown-out tire has nothing punctured in it. It was a defect in the tire". We had all four tires replaced with Kirkland tires to assure us we were not driving on Firestones.
Let it also be known the Montana Highway Patrol has been informed of this incident involving Firestone tires. They also suggested we contact the FBI, which we will do upon our arrival back home in Las Vegas, Nevada. They also said that Janet Reno was reviewing the list with a possibility of expansion. Our legal counsel has also been informed of this incident, and will be in touch with Firestone at a later date.
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