One of this holiday season’s hottest gifts has gotten a little too hot, literally. The burning question for hoverboard enthusiasts is “Is yours next?”. Consumer complaints about these self-combusting people movers have created headaches for retailers and manufacturers alike. There are at least two known incidents in Alabama alone.
A local couple has filed suit blaming the popular toy they bought at a mall kiosk for a fire that badly damaged their home in Meridianville. The suit against Hoverboards Huntsville claims the battery-powered boards caught fire, causing extensive damage to their home and vehicle, but fortunately there were no injuries. The lawsuit claims the company wouldn’t provide an exchange or refund for two hoverboards that wouldn’t charge properly. “After taking the hoverboards home, the plaintiffs plugged the hoverboards into an outlet to charge them. The hoverboards would not take a charge and were not functioning properly,” the lawsuit reads. It continues with, “As the plaintiffs, their two daughters and one of the daughter’s friends were sleeping, their home caught fire caused by the hoverboards…Miraculously, a member of a nearby utility crew noticed the plaintiffs’ house was on fire and saved everyone inside, including the plaintiffs’ pets.”
In Gulf Shores, a man recently used his cell phone to record part of a terrifying scene involving his new hoverboard. He was riding his $370 board when he was abruptly thrown off and the board burst into flames. The man has stated that he rode the board for three days prior without incident; however, on the day of his accident, he was within 100 feet of his home when the board’s wheels locked up and the device came to a complete stop, throwing him off and catching on fire. “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…I was yelling my mom’s name, and she ran out with some baking soda because I didn’t know what to put on that type of fire,” he said. That didn’t help much and it weighed too much to move, so he says he doused the flames with buckets of water. The blaze reignited more than once before he was able to put it out for good.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CSPC) is actively investigating hoverboard-related fires across the country, but failed to specify just how many fires have been reported to the agency. “We are looking at the entire product line,” said Scott Wolfson, a spokesman for the agency. Chairman Elliot Kaye said, “Every consumer who is riding a hoverboard, who purchased one to give as a gift during the holidays, or who is thinking about buying one deserves to know if there is a safety defect.” People who encounter an issue with their hoverboard are urged to file a report with the CPSC.
The Alabama Fire Marshal’s Office has offered the following safety tips:
- Don’t buy a hoverboard from a seller that isn’t vetted and respected.
- Make sure the product is tested by national testing laboratory standards.
- Don’t charge the board overnight or when you are not able to observe it.
- Don’t use off brand chargers that aren’t designed specifically for the model in use.
- These fires are grabbing all the headlines, but falling from the hoverboard is perhaps a greater risk, so always wear safety gear when riding.
If you, or someone you know, has been injured in a hoverboard accident, call Rahmati Law Firm at (256) 533-2002.
*No representation is made that the quality of the legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers.