A woman’s home in Washington State recently burnt to the ground after a fun toy she got for Christmas burst into flames. Thankfully, watchful neighbors spotted smoke and called 911, allowing emergency responders enough time to put out the blaze before the house was destroyed.
What toy was the source of so much damage? A hoverboard. The electronic gadgets were the most popular item this holiday season and have caused mounting problems for owners, leading not only to damaging falls, but also malfunctioning and, on occasion, spontaneous fires. In fact, a local news station in Arlington, Washington noted that this was the third time a hoverboard has ignited in the town in only the past three months.
Nationwide, the problem is even more serious, with dozens of hoverboard-related fires reported. Commercial airlines have taken steps to ban the products, blaming poor construction and lithium ion batteries for the risk of fire. The Consumer Product Safety Commission, a watchdog organization, is asking manufacturers to take the toys off the market until they are confirmed to be safe.
Speaking of safe, the government and many other groups have come out recently and criticized the hoverboards for being shoddily constructed. Complaints became so common that Amazon pulled the hoverboards from its website. In an attempt to create some consistency in a fractured marketplace, the government has agreed to team up with Underwriters Laboratories (UL), an independent safety testing company, to create a test to certify when a hoverboard has been safely manufactured. Once a hoverboard passes all the required tests, UL will give its stamp of approval and the hoverboard will be deemed safe to sell.
Alarmingly, UL has not yet certified a single hoverboard. Not one. However, UL says it is working with companies across the globe to get them to meet their safety standard. Once a board is finally certified as safe, it will come with a holographic logo on the box. But consumer groups advise customers to be cautious, there are already reports that knock-off brands have begun putting fake UL stickers on their packaging.
Experts say that if you already own a hoverboard, it is critical to watch it, especially while it’s charging. If at any time you believe the hoverboard is overheating, unplug it immediately and get it outside your home.
If you, or someone you love, has been injured and think you may have a personal injury claim, please contact the Madison / Jackson personal injury attorneys at Kobs & Philley at (601) 856-7800.