8 Ford Explorer cruisers are recalled

Aug 10, 2017 by

Published in the August 11, 2017 edition

MELROSE — The Ford Motor Company has recalled SUV style police cruisers built from 2013 to 2017 because carbon monoxide has been entering the passenger compartment through a faulty seal on the tailgate.

As a result, Melrose Police will rotate eight of their Ford Explorers out of service immediately so they can be fixed.

Local police will also have carbon monoxide detectors installed in all their vehicles, a spokesman said.

In Massachusetts, the carbon monoxide issues first struck in Auburn, where one officer passed out behind the wheel due to the fumes and got into an accident. The issues in several Auburn Police cruisers should now be fixed after Ford engineers worked with the department to seal tail light wiring areas and replace rear spoiler clips. The work to fix the issue also involved removing exterior aftermarket emergency lighting, Auburn officials said.

“The Auburn Police Department is happy to report that we believe the carbon monoxide issue we have recently experienced with our Ford police cruisers is believed to have been corrected by Ford engineers and mechanics from the Auburn DPW,” the department said in a Facebook post.

The town checked all the Ford Explorers used by town departments after an officer passed out inside an SUV and rear-ended another vehicle Wednesday morning. The department said the officer was exposed to carbon monoxide.

A total of six officers, including the officer involved in the crash, were treated at local hospitals after testing positive for carbon monoxide. The town tested all Ford Explorers used by different departments and removed 10 police department Explorers off the road. The Explorers had the Interceptor package.

The town found three other Ford Explorers tested positive for carbon monoxide – two fire department vehicles and one public works vehicle. Those vehicles, which do not have the Interceptor package, should be fixed by Monday.

Five of the officers who tested positive for carbon monoxide returned to work. The officer injured in the crash remains on injured on duty status.

Ford engineers worked with town officials over the past few days to fix the issues. The town is also spending roughly $8,500 on carbon monoxide detectors and those devices will go inside the police, fire and DPW vehicles.

Some departments across the county have experienced carbon monoxide leaks in their Ford Explorers. One department in Texas removed every Ford Explorer SUV from their fleet.

Ford said in a statement that a recall has not been announced and recall decisions are driven by data.

“When the data indicates a safety recall is needed, we move quickly on behalf of our customers,” the statement said.

The matter is also under investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which has received just under 800 complaints about the carbon monoxide leak issue.

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