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November 27, 2020

Hoverboard Starts Deadly House Fire

Hoverboards have been wildly popular since their release in 2015, but they’re also proving to be wildly dangerous. Both a three-year-old and ten-year-old girl in Harrisburg were the tragic victims of a fatal fire started by a hoverboard charging on the first floor of a row house. Another girl who had been in critical condition has been released from the hospital. The victims’ father and a young boy had been treated for smoke inhalation. In a related, terrible traffic accident, a fire lieutenant was killed as he rushed to the scene to help put out the fire.

Why Do Hoverboards Explode

These self-balancing scooters are battery powered, and their batteries can overheat and catch fire or explode like the one in Harrisburg did. The family said it heard crackling and sizzling right before the incident.

Lithium-ion batteries are a growing concern, as they’ve been implicated in fires involving cell phones and other wireless devices. Their inner workings contain an anode, a cathode, an organic liquid, and a separator. Lithium flows between the parts. The problem is that they’re very temperamental, and if the process is thrown off or if the battery heats up too quickly, then a fire and an explosion can result.

Product Recalls

It is unknown whether the hoverboard in this fire was one of the recalled models. Ten companies have issued recalls, with some offering replacement batteries and others offering refunds for over 500,000 hoverboards. More information can be found through the US Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Recommendations for Hoverboard Owners

If you’d still like to purchase a hoverboard, the following recommendations have been made by acting commission chairperson of the CPSC, Ann Marie Buerkle:

Consumers should buy a model that follows the “Underwriters Laboratory’s safety standard, known as UL2272,” indicating that it’s made to prevent electrical components and the battery from overheating and bursting into flames. Other pointers are as follows:

  • Don’t charge them overnight
  • Do not charge them in unattended areas
  • Keep a fire extinguisher nearby

And we’d like to add, completing any paperwork to register your toys and vehicles will allow manufacturers to notify you in case of a recall.

Product Liability and Human Harm

In February 2016, a hoverboard was blamed for a fire that destroyed a million dollar home. To quote the mother in that hoverboard fire, “The fact that a toy caused this kind of destruction . . . is just wrong”. This is why product liability laws exist. There are controls in place to hold companies responsible if their products hurt the public.

If you have been hurt by any product, you may have a good chance at compensation for your physical or emotional injuries. If you’ve been hurt by a product that is recalled, you have an especially good case.

Greenstein & Milbauer has in-depth experience with both product liability cases and personal injury law. Contact us today to find out how our experience with these kinds of cases leads to higher financial awards. Complete the form below or call 1-800-VICTIM2 (842-8462) for a free consultation.