(AUBURN, Wash.) — Crews responded to a fire at a mall in Auburn, Washington, on Tuesday, caused by one of the hottest gifts this holiday season — a hoverboard.
The battery-powered hoverboard overheated, going up in flames not once, but twice, stunning shoppers.
“They’re just staring like, ‘What just happened?,’” Kelli Steiner, a witness to the fire, told ABC television affiliate KOMO.
Kelly Tyson, a spokeswoman for the Valley Regional Fire Authority, told KOMO that fire crews on the scene believe the battery-powered device “had overheated.”
This is just the latest in a string of incidents in which hoverboards ended up engulfed in smoke.
Tamara Hardnett, of Prairieville, Louisiana, said she bought one of the two-wheeled machines for her teenage son recently. She said they were charging it when she heard two explosions.
“If someone was in the room they would have been hurt because it exploded,” Hardnett told local ABC television station WBRZ.
Jessica Horne of Lafitte, Louisiana, said the hoverboard she bought for her family was charging before it destroyed part of her home.
“Both wheels, it was like a firework,” she told ABC affiliate WGNO. “I saw sparks flying and before I could yell, ‘The house is on the fire!’ the middle part of the board that would go in between your feet — it just went ‘poof!'”
Authorities are investigating the cause of the fires, but now the National Association of State Fire Marshals is issuing an advisory saying these incidents are “not unique occurrences” and that consumers need to do their homework.
“If you buy these devices, make sure that they’ve been tested by a reputable testing firm,” Chief Butch Browning, president of the National Association of Fire Marshals, told WBRZ. “Be cautious about purchasing them over the internet [and] purchasing them directly from overseas.”
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