Firefighters Identify VW Golf as Source of Parking Garage Fire in Kanagawa Pref. (UPDATE 1)

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The parking lot of a pachinko parlor enveloped in black smoke on Aug. 20, in Atsugi, Kanagawa Prefecture.

ATSUGI, Kanagawa — A Volkswagen Golf TDI was identified as the source of a fire that broke out in August in the parking garage of a pachinko parlor in Atsugi, Kanagawa Prefecture, the city’s fire department headquarters announced Monday. More than 150 parked cars were caught up in the blaze.

Volkswagen Group Japan KK submitted a recall notification to the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry on Friday because it cannot rule out the possibility that a manufacturing defect caused the fire.

The fire broke out at the two-story steel-framed concrete parking garage adjacent to Maruhan’s Atsugi-Kita store on the afternoon of Aug. 20. The fire consumed a total of 153 parked cars on the first, second and rooftop floors and was extinguished after about four hours. No one was injured.

The Atsugi city fire department and Kanagawa prefectural police checked security cameras in the building and found a Golf TDI had caught fire a few minutes after it was parked in the center of the second floor.

 According to VW’s recall notification, a heat shield mat for the brake fluid reservoir tank in the engine compartment was improperly fitted in as many as 6,512 vehicles, covering nine models imported between February 2021 and November 2023, including this Golf TDI. The heat could melt the edges of the tank, causing brake fluid to leak and, in the worst-case scenario, catch fire as it comes in contact with parts of the exhaust system.