Police in Austin, Texas pull Ford Explorer SUVs from fleet over fumes

Police in Austin, Texas pull Ford Explorer SUVs from fleet over fumes

Ford has responded to the numerous carbon-monoxide claims by promising to make repairs as it investigates the complaints.

The decision follows NHTSA's announcement that it has expanded its investigation into 1.3 million 2011-2017 Ford Explorer SUVs over reports of exhaust odors and concerns of carbon monoxide exposure.

The possible carbon monoxide exposure in the SUVs has been an ongoing issue for the Austin Police Department.

KEEL News has reached out to the Police Chief and the Mayor to find out if we have had any problems with the Ford Interceptor SUV's, but have not heard back from them yet.

The Austin Police Department has experienced carbon monoxide issues over the past five months, he said.

While a small handful of police support vehicles have yet to be placed in storage, the city says they are not actively being used.

The city installed carbon monoxide alarms after officers began reporting getting sick while in the vehicles, and parked 60 of them when the alarms activated.

Ford will address specific concerns from police departments by repairing potential carbon monoxide leaks in its Explorer police cars.

Among the complaints, three involved crashes and 41 were reports of injuries, such as loss of consciousness, nausea and headaches. However, Ford says they have discovered holes and unsealed spaces in the back of some of the interceptor units that had police equipment installed after leaving Ford's factory. He said no elevated levels have been found, and no officers have reported symptoms.

Despite the lack of conclusive and documented linkage between injury reports and carbon monoxide poisoning, the NHTSA notes that carbon monoxide levels "may be elevated in certain driving scenarios".

The agency, along with representatives from Ford, have been in Austin investigating the vehicles. "Customers with concerns about Explorers and Police Interceptor Utilities can call our dedicated hotline at 888-260-5575 or visit their local Ford dealership".

In a statement, Ford said "Safety is our top priority".

The measures include checking and sealing off the rear of the vehicle, adding a new air-conditioning calibration that brings more fresh air into the cabin during heavy acceleration and checking for engine codes that indicate a damaged exhaust manifold.

The Duluth Police Department has about 25 Ford Explorers in its fleet, according to Deputy Chief Nick Lukovsky, who said the city's squads don't appear to have the same issues.