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Jeep Grand Cherokees may harbor fuel hazard

June 9, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Older model Jeep Grand Cherokee owners are being warned of a potential fuel tank hazard.

ABC News has obtained exclusive video of a safety investigation involving model years 1993 through 2004.

Safety advocates said the problem is the placement of the fuel tank near the rear of the car, which they believe makes it vulnerable in crashes.

The Center for Auto Safety said when the vehicle is hit from the rear, fuel can spill out of the tank.

"I thought, oh my god, if that was gasoline and there was someone in there, we could have had a fire death. For the Center for Auto Safety, this is the most dangerous vehicle on the road today, and we want it recalled," said Clarence Didlow, executive director of the advocacy organization.

The center said that at least 55 people have died in the crashes where fire was "the most harmful factor."

Chrysler said the Grand Cherokees in question meet or exceed all federal standards, and that "rear impacts resulting in fire are extremely rare" and "occur no more often in these Grand Cherokee vehicles than in peer vehicles."

Also, Chrysler added the crash test was "three times more severe" than the government standard.

ABC News contributed to this report.

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