Jeep Fire
Reporter: Bryan Seymour

Melissa Frost is a hero. A young mum who battled flames and her own panic to rescue her two little children. Yet the most remarkable thing about their escape is that it's happened before, many times.

Brave little Trinity, at just five years old, has already survived one of the biggest threats she'll ever face.

The Frost family, dad Michael, mum Melissa, Trinity and 11 month old Dublin, love driving on the beach. And finally they got their dream car, a five door soft-top Jeep Wrangler.

"The car hadn't even done a thousand kilometres" says Michael.

Two weeks ago Melissa, her sister in law, and the two children were driving along the beach at Queensland's Bribie Island.

"It went really, really slow like it was churning up a lot of sand but when I looked in the side mirror, it was really flat. It didn't go forward, it just revs, then we looked out the rear vision window and there was smoke coming out of the car... And I thought it was just sand and then my sister looks back and says oh my god we're on fire! So I said quick! Jump! Get out!" explains Melissa.

"So I said trinity get out. So we opened the door and there was flames coming up under, into my feet and so I jumped out, Trinity luckily had her seat belt off in time, so she managed to get her belt off, jumped out and ran."

As Melissa ran her children to safety, she realised her sister in law was trapped, flames blocking her exit, she had to crawl across the car where Melissa helped drag her away.

"She had to drag herself away from the car, she couldn't walk, her legs just were in agony, she couldn't walk and ... we only got five or ten metres away from the car and it was fully engulfed in flames."

In January 2007, a couple and their infant child barely escaped, when their brand new $70,000 Jeep Grand Cherokee, on a short country drive, suddenly burst into flames.

The same month, the Ross family - Ivan, his wife and their two young kids escaped their 2000 Jeep XJ Cherokee Sport when it, for no reason, also caught fire on the beach.

More and more stories surfaced of Jeeps spontaneously combusting.

A search on the internet satisfied Michael that his car's combustion, was not unique. "There was one discussion forum where six people in the States have all reported exactly the same thing happening, all in the exact same manner."

Chrysler Australia has issued numerous recalls for Jeep vehicles, including the recall of 100,000 Grand Cherokees 2005 to fix a problem causing fires under the hood.

And just like then, Chrysler Australia has again refused us an interview. They've sent us a statement saying they stand by their cars, when we asked them how many of their Jeeps spontaneously combust, they simply ignored us. But then, it's not surprising, especially when you hear how Chrysler Australia treated the Frost family in the hours straight after their narrow escape.

"They said they can't help us unless we've got a flat tyre or we're broken down and so we were actually after a rental car or something to get us by those first few days and they weren't able to give us anything. They said to call back on Monday and call head office when they were open. We paid $44,000 for it and they wouldn't give us a rental vehicle at all!" explained Michael.

Once their dream car, the Frosts now say Jeeps offer too much bang for your buck.

And the family's insurance company Suncorp quickly paid their claim in full. Now they're investigating this latest fire and say if they find the cause, they will pursue the guilty party.

So far this year, Chrysler Australia has issued six recalls, including the Grand Cherokee and the Jeep Wrangler.