Windstar fire

Almost any electrical short could cause a fire. You need to have an experienced fire investigator look it over. Do you have insurance on the vehicle? If so, the insurance company probably can help out with that. It could even be the CC deactivation switch, but it is my opinion if this was the source of the fire, the fire would not have started 3 hours after the vehicle was parked. But it is only opinion, and never having even seen the vehicle, it is impossible for me to have too provide valuable guidance. I can say that there is almost no history of cruise control deactivation switches causing fires in Windstars. But even if they are trouble free 99.999% of the time, there is still room for doubt. And one more thing, not only is the Windstar CC Deactivation switch not powered when the ignition is off, it is not even the same part number as the switch in Ford Trucks that was identified as a bad switch.
Before the fire did you have any trouble with the cruise control? Did you need to add any brake fluid? Ever notice any leaking fluid under the hood? To cause a fire in the manner that Sharon is suggesting, the switch would have to have been leaking for a significant period of time. Seems like you should have seen some symptoms.
The tight layout of the Windstar engine compartment is going to make any definitive determination difficult. There is lots of stuff in the area of the master cylinder that might cause a fire if there is a short to provide an ignition source. If I was a betting man, I'd guess there was a fault in the primary power feed or ground from the battery that resulted in a high resistance short that over a period of time that eventually started the wiring burning. Now I suppose this short could have been caused by corrosion related to brake fluid leakage from the CC deactivation switch but that is not the most likely cause in my opinion. If you don't have a related symptom to narrow it down to the cruise control deactivation switch, any claim that this is the fault is just speculation. The fact that spraying water on the fire caused it to spread indicates to me that there was a liquid fuel involved. Of course, after the fire got going, any of the plastic reservoirs under the hood could have melted releasing brake fluid, and power steering fluid, both of which will burn. Melted fuel lines will release gasoline, so that is another source of fuel.
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