Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, authorities say a hoverboard that exploded while it was charging is to blame for a house fire that killed a 3-year-old girl and critically injured two others.
Firefighters reached the three-story house shortly after the blaze was reported around 8 p.m. Friday, March 10. Strong winds in the area at the time fueled the inferno and the first floor was reportedly engulfed in flames.
The Lehigh County coroner’s office identified the child who died as Ashanti Hughes. Rescuers retrieved two other girls who were trapped on the second and third floors, and two other family members escaped onto a porch roof. The two girls are being treated at a regional burn center for severe burns and they were said to remain in critical condition on Monday.
“They heard some sizzling and crackling in the hoverboard and shortly thereafter, it exploded,” Harrisburg’s fire chief Brian Enterline told the Associated Press.
Additionally, Lt. Dennis DeVoe was killed while driving to the scene of the fire, the Harrisburg Bureau of Fire reported. Mr. DeVoe, a firefighter, was struck and killed by a 19-year-old woman driving a stolen vehicle under the influence of alcohol.
Red Cross officials said that 21 people have been displaced by the fire, according to WGAL Channel 8 Lancaster.
U.S. regulators recalled more than 500,000 Chinese-made hoverboards in July amid a mounting number of reports that the devices, powered by rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, suddenly exploded.
“We’ve concluded pretty definitively that these are not safe products the way they were designed,” said U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) chairman Eliot Kaye in July, urging consumers to stop using the devices.
The agency, which has investigated more than 60 hoverboard fires since the fall of 2015, told NBC News that it will be investigating the Harrisburg fire as well.