Apparently, No One Is Investigating the VW ID.3 Fire in the Netherlands

Volkswagen ID.3 Catches Fire in Groningen 6 photos
Photo: Volkswagen
Volkswagen ID.3Volkswagen ID.3Volkswagen ID.3Volkswagen ID.3Volkswagen ID.3
You could expect that the first fire involving a Volkswagen ID.3 would be under heavy scrutiny at this point. After more than one week of trying to discover who is investigating the blaze in Groningen apart from the automaker, we can say that is definitely not the case. So far, we have no idea who is in charge of finding out what happened to that car.
If you are not familiar with the situation, an ID.3 caught fire in the morning of August 14 in Groningen, Netherlands. Its owner and her son did not get hurt. reported the residents in the area where the EV burned heard at least five explosions.

We first tried to contact the Groningen Fire Department (Brandweer) and have received no answer so far. Our second option was the Police department, but they didn’t even know what this case was, when, or where the fire happened. They suggested that we talked to Brandweer.

We then tried talking to the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management and the Ministry of Justice and Security, unsure of which would be responsible for such an investigation in the Netherlands.

We have only heard back from the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, whose team told us to contact the Gemeente Groningen – the city administration. They would be the ones “authorized to dissolve incidents like this.”

Gemeente Groningen was quick to get back in touch with us. On August 26, they told us they had forwarded our questions to Veiligheidregio Groningen (VRG). The city’s emergency services would then get in touch with us to clarify it “they know something about further investigation.” So far, we have not received the answers we need from VRG.

We have also tried to get in touch with Mariska Steenmeijer-Van Nijen to learn more about the circumstances of the blaze. She was the owner of the Volkswagen that caught fire. We had a sense of the urgency of the entire situation, thanks to a public post she recently did. According to it, she lost her cell phone in the fire. It seems she only had time to take her 3-year-old son from the car before it burned to the ground.

We wanted to ask her how long the fire took to extinguish, the exact circumstances in which it started, and if anyone decided to investigate what happened. Van Nijen initially told us that she would think about answering our questions but that she was not sure she wanted to get even more involved with the situation, and that was the last we ever heard from her.

The only question we managed to get an answer for was what the Dutch government could do if the investigations that do not seem to be happening discovered something wrong with the ID.3. The Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management told us that the independent institution CE Delft published a report in November 2020 that concluded “that electric cars do not seem to pose a greater safety risk than fuel cars.”

Still according to the ministry, “Dutch authorities, such as municipalities, fire departments, the associations for parking lots, several EV-institutes and national government are continuously working together and sharing knowledge to make parking spaces as safe as possible.” With no investigation about what happened, let’s hope this is enough.
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About the author: Gustavo Henrique Ruffo
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Motoring writer since 1998, Gustavo wants to write relevant stories about cars and their shift to a sustainable future.
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