Claims Of Secret Service Conspiracy as Biden’s Cars Catch Fire

Five vehicles rented by the Secret Service were damaged by fire in Nantucket, Massachusetts on Monday, November 28, less than 24 hours after the agency returned them to rental company Hertz.

The fire occurred at Nantucket Memorial Airport on Monday morning and there were no injuries, though the blaze took place just 40 feet away from the airport’s jet fuel tanks.

The cars had been used to transport members of the Secret Service while President Joe Biden and his family spent Thanksgiving on the island, which is a tradition for them.

But while the incident is still under investigation, it has added fire to pre-existing conspiracy narratives questioning the loyalties of the agency tasked with keeping the U.S. president out of harm’s way.

Claims Of Secret Service Conspiracy as Biden’s Cars Catch Fire
US President Joe Biden speaks at the 2022 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, on September 14, 2022, while visiting the auto show to highlight electric vehicle manufacturing. In November, an accident in Nantucket, in which a number of decommissioned Secret Service vehicles caught fire, spawned conspiracy theories online.
MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

The Claim

As the news about the burning vehicles spread, some social media users raised questions about the cause of the fire, and why the Secret Service had rented the vehicles in the first place.

Twitter users appeared to suggest or imply that the agency could be responsible for the incident.

Lindy Li, who describes herself as a political commentator, tweeted: “ALL 5 cars rented by Biden’s Secret Service erupted in flames.”

She also made reference to other controversies surrounding the agency, including questions about missing text messages from January 5 and 6, 2021.

“They deleted Jan 6 texts despite Congressional warnings,” Li went on. “Secret Service can no longer be trusted.”

Li’s tweet was retweeted nearly 8,000 times and received more than 34,000 likes.

Twitter user @JoJofromJerz wrote: “I feel like the fact that 5 of President Biden’s Secret Service rental cars suddenly burst into flames in the Nantucket Airport parking lot less than 24 hours after they were returned should maybe be a slightly bigger story.”

Her tweet received more than 13,700 retweets and 87,800 likes.

“Five cars rented by President Joe Biden’s Secret Service detail for his Thanksgiving weekend trip to Nantucket mysteriously burst into flames a day after he left,” tweeted user Ryan Pinesworth in a post that received more than 3,000 engagements.

“Seems fishy to me, but I’m sure they’ll tell us it was an accident.”

Newsweek has reached out to Lindy Li, @JoJofromJerz and Ryan Pinesworth for comment.

The Facts

The incident in Nantucket is under investigation and the cause of the fire has not yet been officially determined.

However, Nantucket Fire Chief Michael Cranson said that an investigation had found the fire was not suspicious, according to Nantucket Current, which first reported on the matter.

While the cause has not been formally determined as yet, officials have focused on one vehicle in particular—a white Ford Expedition that was under a safety recall because of a faulty battery junction box.

Ford’s website advises customers: “If your Expedition SUV is included in this recall, there is a chance the battery junction box can cause a fire. As a safety precaution, park outside and away from structures if possible. If you see smoke while driving, find a safe place to pull over and park, then call your Ford dealer for service.”

Sources told Nantucket Current that the vehicle in question was scheduled for service, but had not yet undergone repairs.

The fire took place after the Bidens had left Nantucket, and they had not been transported in the cars during their visit there.

The vehicles were used for transportation of Secret Service personnel and other staff, not members of the Biden family, according to Anthony Guglielmi, Secret Service Chief of Communications.

A Secret Service Agent Pictured in D.C.
A member of the Secret Service stands watch as Marine One, with U.S. President Joe Biden onboard, lifts off from the South Lawn of the White House October 7, 2022 in Washington, DC. Five cars rented by the Secret Service suffered fire damage on Monday.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Guglielmi told Newsweek on Thursday morning that Biden travels in “fully armored government vehicles” and not in cars rented by the agency. He also said that the Secret Service had experienced no problems with the vehicles in Nantucket.

“We had no issues with those vehicles. Absolutely no performance or mechanical issues were reported by the agents that drove them,” Guglielmi said, adding that the vehicles had been returned to Hertz on Sunday night.

Guglielmi said that on Monday the agency was “contacted by Hertz indicating that one of the SUVs—[it] was a Ford SUV—had caught fire and it was parked next to several other cars. Because of proximity, those cars also caught fire, but it was [due to] only one vehicle.”

He said that Hertz and the local fire department were investigating and he stressed the importance of the agency’s role in protecting the first family.

“There is nothing more important to the United States Secret Service than the safety of our protectees, including the president of the United States,” Guglielmi said. “We are the global leader in this protective mission, and we take it with the highest level of seriousness.”

Guglielmi also described claims about the fire and Secret Service involvement as “quite frankly absurd.”

The Ruling



There is no evidence that the Secret Service was responsible for the fire that damaged five vehicles the agency had rented from Hertz, nor that it at any point posed a threat to the president and his family.

The local fire chief has said an investigation has determined the fire was not suspicious, and while a final determination of the cause hasn’t yet been made, officials have focused on a faulty battery in a Ford Expedition that was subject to a manufacturer’s recall.

Hertz informed the Secret Service that the fire began in one Ford SUV and then spread to other cars.

The president and his family were not transported using the vehicles during their Thanksgiving visit to Nantucket.


Secret Service stand watch over President Biden
Members of the U.S. Secret Service stand watch as U.S. President Joe Biden speaks at the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) October 24, 2022 in Washington, DC. Biden spoke to staff and volunteers about the midterm elections, which are now two weeks away.
Drew Angerer/Getty

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