A house fire ignited by an apparently defective charging assembly on a hoverboard could serve as a warning to anyone considering buying the popular motorized two-wheel scooters as gifts this holiday season.
Jessica Horne of Lafitte, La., told New Orleans’ WGNO that her 12-year-old son used his new hoverboard for the first time a few days before Thanksgiving. The next day he plugged the self-balancing scooter into an electrical outlet to recharge the lithium batteries, using the charger provided with the hoverboard, and the device went up in flames.
“It was like fireworks,” Ms. Horne told WGNO, saying that flames shot from both ends of the board.
It wasn’t a small fire. The flames were so intense that they quickly spread and consumed the house within minutes.
Hoverboards are an invention from China that began soaring in popularity throughout the U.S. and other parts of the world earlier this year. The scooters are manufactured by a half a dozen Chinese manufacturers, but they are so new to the American market that the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has little information on them.
However, the agency told WGNO that there have been eight reported injuries associated with hoverboards within the last three months. All of those injuries were caused by falls, so the Horne incident could be the first report blaming the scooters for a fire.
A shipping order the Hornes showed WGNO shows that they ordered the hovercraft from Amazon and that it was made by a company called “Fit Turbo.”
Last Friday, a Gulf Shores, Ala.., man was riding his hoverboard at home when he says it exploded beneath his feet and burst into flames.
“I came outside turned it on, came down the sidewalk not even a 100 feet, and it exploded,” Timothy Cade told Mobile, Ala.’s WKRG. Mr. Cade was not injured.
“Batteries started shooting out of it; you would not expect a fire like that to come out of a little thing like that. I was not expecting something like that,” he added.
Mr. Cade, who caught the incident on video, said he also bought his hoverboard from Amazon and hopes to get a refund from the manufacturer. So far, he hasn’t had any luck getting his money back. He told WKRG that he plans to get another hoverboard because they’re a lot of fun.
“They’re so fun; I would take more precaution with the batteries because I think it was the batteries that blew up,” he told WKRG. “If that was a kid to have that happen, or imagine if that was in your house?” he added.