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A class action lawsuit has been filed in San Diego federal court against Chrysler regarding a defect that allegedly causes its Pacifica minivans to catch fire and explode.

The automaker recently issued a recall for the 2017 and 2018 models of the Chrysler Pacifica Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles due to a potential fire risk. Owners were asked not to plug in the hybrids and avoid parking them near structures and other vehicles following an internal investigation that showed 12 fires occurred in those models.

The recall affects nearly 20,000 minivans.

Chrysler said it was working to confirm the cause of the fires and develop a remedy.

The suit filed Monday on behalf of Chula Vista resident Scott Olsen states that he bought one of the minivans in 2018 to transport his disabled son.

“Now I basically have a ticking car bomb that Chrysler is not taking back, and which Chrysler tells me not to charge and not to park near other cars and not to park near my home or any other structure. This is a crazy situation,” Olsen states. “I filed suit because Chrysler needs to take responsibility for the unsafe minivans today — not next week — not a month from now — today. It is a matter of public safety.”

Representatives from Stellantis — the automotive corporation that owns the Chrysler brand — did not respond for comment regarding the lawsuit.

Attorneys representing Olsen said the recall marks the second time Pacifica Hybrids have been recalled due to fire risks. In 2020, more than 27,000 vans were recalled due to a battery defect.

“The vehicles have been rendered largely unusable, with no automatic fix. Consumers should not be ones to pay for Chrysler’s mistake,” said Niall McCarthy, one of the attorneys representing Olsen.

–City News Service, Inc.