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If you drive a Jeep Grand Cherokee, a common rear-ender could set the car’s gas tank afire and lead to a deadly blaze.

The Center for Auto Safety, a watchdog organization, has been arguing for years that the Grand Cherokee’s design increases the risk of fires by placing the gas tank and the fuel filler pipe in locations susceptible to rear impacts. In 2009, based on the organization’s claims, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) opened an investigation into Grand Cherokee-involved rear-impact-related fires.

The NHTSA expand that investigation in June, suggesting that it is siding with the Center for Auto Safety and against the Grand Cherokee’s maker, Chrysler, which has sought (apparently unsuccessfully) to refute the CAS’s claims. In its filing widening the inquiry, the NHTSA wrote—in its strongest language on the matter to date—that fires “are more prevalent in the J.G.C. than in non-Jeep peer vehicles.”

The expansion of the investigation increases the likelihood that the 5.1 million vehicles now under scrutiny—including Grand Cherokees from model years 1993 through 2004, Cherokee SUVs from model years 1993 through 2001 and Liberty compact crossovers from model years 2002 through 2007—will be recalled.

Have you or a loved one been harmed by a defective vehicle? Contact the personal injury attorneys at Hodes Milman Liebeck toll-free at (866) 730-1976, or submit the contact form on our website, hmlm.com. We’ve achieved million-dollar verdicts in product-liability actions on behalf of our clients.