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SALT LAKE CITY — When Eric Olson saw the news a young child had been badly burned in an ORV fire, he immediately suspected a model of the Polaris RZR.
“It struck home because of the work we've been doing,” Olson said.
On Sunday, three people were injured when their ORV exploded, sparking a wildfire in American Fork Canyon. One of the injured, a young child, was taken to University Hospital with second-degree burns on 40 percent of her body.
Olson has done research and fears it's the same machine he recently filed a lawsuit over. Last week, he filed a lawsuit against Polaris.
"It was a similar situation," Olson said. “Because a Razor caught fire and severely burned our client.”
Olson’s client was burned on much of his body while the individual was four-wheeling in Idaho. The client racked up $1 million in medical bills.
“They seem to happen in a similar fashion,” Olson said. “Sometimes people will be driving along and they start on fire.”
Olson has found Polaris RZR fires dating back seven or eight years. In April, the company recalled more than 100,000 off-road vehicles from 2013 to 2016. On Monday, Polaris issued a recall on the RZR Turbo.
Olson discovered 160 fires, 19 injuries and one death reported to Polaris related to RZR and Ranger fires.
BJ Hoaldridge's daughter, Baylee, was that one death.
“It reminds us of what we went through,” said Hoaldridge.
The Utah County teen was burned on a Polaris RZR a year ago and succumbed to her burns several months later. The family set up the Be Brave Baylee Foundation to raise money and help support other burn victims.
“It just reminds us of how much we miss her and how much we love her,” Hoaldridge said.
Hoaldridge is grateful for the recalls.
“As the recall states, don't operate those vehicles until it's been taken care of,” Hoaldridge said.
Polaris said it is investigating the fire in American Fork Canyon but has limited information. Polaris also offered thoughts and prayers for the family of the girl who was burned over the weekend, and is grateful to the first responders.
The public is encourage to check the Polaris company’s website for specific ORV models that were recalled.
Contributing: Xoel Cardenas