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Arson ruled out in Ford Kuga fire death inquest

The Western Cape High Court has heard an electrical short circuit caused the blaze in Wilderness in December 2015.

Investigator Hendrik McLeod pictured at the stripped-down replica of a Ford Kuga at the Western Cape High Court on 27 May 2019 for the inquest into Reshall Jimmy's death. Picture: Kevin Brandt/EWN

CAPE TOWN - In an inquest into Reshall Jimmy’s Ford Kuga fire death, arson has been ruled out by an expert for an insurance company.

The Western Cape High Court has heard an electrical short circuit caused the blaze in Wilderness in December 2015.

The NPA decided not to prosecute Ford, but AfriForum is now assisting the family in private prosecution.

Insurance company Telesure Group Services tasked Hendrik McLeod to investigate the fire following Jimmy’s death.
One of McLeod’s findings was that no potential ignition source was found at the scene of the fire.

“There were no accelerants used and obviously all the doors of the vehicle were closed. Nobody could have mugged the victim or anything like that.”

Ford’s US-based fire expert, John Loud, last week testified he used an open flame to recreate an ignition source during tests he conducted.

McLeod differs with this method, saying it’s not a true reflection of how the fire occurred.

“It is unfair to use open flame where the fire was started by an electrical issue. He should have induced an electrical arc to have started the fire.”

The fire expert has further highlighted the blaze could not have started in the rear section of the vehicle, as he found unburnt clothing items in the boot of the SUV.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)

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