Last month, we wrote about an increasing number of spontaneous fires associated with “hoverboards,” which became a fad just before the holiday season. These Segway-like vehicles are made by a number of different manufacturers (but not Segway), and many suffer from one very dangerous defect: Their powerful batteries can overheat and burst into flame.
Some incidents have resulted in burn injuries and significant property damage to homes, including a home here in California. But in January, one hoverboard fire caused a house to burn to the ground, and the two children trapped inside only narrowly escaped with their lives.
The family of six lives in Nashville, Tennessee. The hoverboard was a Christmas present for the family’s 14-year-old son. The teen’s parents did their research, both before and after buying the product. They bought their particular make and model based on good Amazon reviews. When news outlets later reported fire dangers associated with hoverboards, they continued to check online for information. The product still seemed safe, but the parents nonetheless gave the gift with an important caveat: It could only be charged when someone was around to keep an eye on it (fires were most likely to happen while it was plugged in and charging).
On the day of the fire, the hoverboard was not being charged, but it had been stored on the floor between two couches – a toy clean-up habit the teen had learned when he was younger. He and his sister were both upstairs, and didn’t realize the house was on fire until it was already out of control. Thankfully, both were able to escape and suffered relatively minor injuries.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission has received more than 50 reports of hoverboard fires. The commission says that many of these products were not manufactured in compliance with existing safety standards, and it has vowed to recall any and all hoverboards found to be faulty.
If your family owns a hoverboard, please understand just how dangerous these products can be and act accordingly. Even keeping one in your home could present a serious fire hazard. And if you have already been injured by a defective hoverboard, you may want to speak with an experienced Oakland personal injury attorney about your rights and legal options.