Practice Areas

Tourists sue Kia after rental car catches fire on Oahu

By Tom George

Tuesday, August 13th 2019, 6:37 PM HST

The family is fed up because they believe what happened to them is part of a pattern happening across the country - Kia Souls randomly catching fire in the middle of driving.

A mother and son from Oklahoma are continuing to recover after the Kia Soul they rented on a trip to Oahu suddenly caught fire on the H3 freeway in June.

Jordan Carlton and mom Becky were driving towards Kaneohe when their car suddenly caught fire. The flames spread into the cabin causing the brakes to stop working. Becky was able to jump out as the car slowed down, while Jordan stayed in the car to stop it.

Becky suffered burns and brain bleeding, but Jordan's wounds were more severe - he was burned on more than 85 percent of his body, and nearly died.

His dad, Robert, flew to Hawaii from Oklahoma as they continue to recover. "You can imagine how horrible it is seeing your son laying in a hospital bed in that condition," he says.

But they're also fed up because they believe what happened to them is part of a pattern happening across the country - Kia Souls randomly catching fire in the middle of driving.

The Cantons have filed a lawsuit against both Kia Motors, and Budget Rental Cars for damages. Consumer watch dog groups have identified more than 100 cases of Kias catching fire. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has investigated model year 2010-2015 Kias and Hyundais, but in the case, the Soul was a new 2019 model year.

"There needs to be a new normal for Kia," Carlton says. "I'm not going sugarcoat it. I'm angry." We reached out to Kia Motors for comment, but they did not respond.