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DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) -- Ford Motor Co. is recalling nearly 800,000 pickups and sport utility vehicles because the cruise control switch could short circuit and cause a fire under the hood, the automaker said.
The recall, which was announced Thursday, affects approximately 792,000 Ford F-150 pickups, Ford Expeditions and Lincoln Navigators from the 2000 model year. Also affected are 2001 F-Series Supercrew trucks that were made at the same time.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened an investigation into the defect in November after receiving 36 reports of fires. All of the incidents occurred when the vehicle was parked and the ignition was turned off. No injuries were reported.
In an interview Friday from Deltona, Fla., broadcast on NBC's "Today" show, F-150 owner Bob Garcia described how flames engulfed his truck at his home while the ignition was turned off. The intense fire also damaged his garage.
"It caught on fire inside the garage all by itself," Garcia said. "No key in it."
During the interview, NBC showed a videotape dated last month that showed the damage from the blaze.
Ford will notify owners of the recall in February, and dealers will deactivate the cruise control switch for free. Once the company has an adequate supply of replacement switches, it will send another letter notifying owners that they can get their switches replaced.
Ford said cruise control will be disabled once the switch is deactivated.
"We recognize this may be an inconvenience, but we believe this preventive action is in the best interest of our customers' safety," the company said.
Ford said it worked closely with NHTSA throughout the investigation.
(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)