The car had just come back from a basic checkup and oil change at the selling dealer: Salerno Duane Ford. Mom likes to remove the gardening things from the back before taking the car in for service. Hence not much was in it.
Checking the web I find that these cars had been recalled back in 2007. The cruise control's cut off switch in the brake was starting engine fires: Massive Ford Recall to Fix Fire Hazard: Despite Earlier Recalls, Fords Have Continued to Burn The car has always been serviced at the dealer. Checking Recalls Look-up by VIN we found no outstanding recalls. The cruise control recall was done on this car on May 8, 2008. But... The fire was right where this control is located. Did the recall totally fix the problem? (My mom never knew the car had a cruise control.)
This is the only picture. Taken just before it was towed to the junk yard. Original-sized image is behind web-sized.
N.J. Manufacturers paid $3119 for the totaled car.
My mom insisted on a running board. My brother found a 2008 Ford Escape Hybrid at a local dealer. A low mileage trade in that had just come in, and was posted to the web the day my brother saw it. She bought it. The car is very similar to the Explorer, meaning minimal change for an elderly person.