Plugged-In Hoverboard Explodes, Sends Embers Throughout Petaluma Home: Fire Dept. | NBC Bay Area
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Plugged-In Hoverboard Explodes, Sends Embers Throughout Petaluma Home: Fire Dept.

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    A fire broke out in Petaluma, California, the fire department said, after a girl’s plugged-in hoverboard started to explode, sending embers and plastic pieces throughout the house. That’s the second hoverboard fire in the Bay Area in a week, and the third in the region since before Christmas. Ian Cull reports. (Published Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2016)

    A fire broke out in Petaluma, California, the fire department said, after a girl’s plugged-in hoverboard started to explode, sending embers and plastic pieces throughout the house.

    That’s the second hoverboard fire in the Bay Area in a week, and the third in the region since before Christmas.

    The last hoverboard fire in Santa Rosa on Jan. 19 ended up killing two dogs that were home at the time of the blaze – again, most likely started by the hoverboard that was charging in the socket at a home on Bixby Court, the fire department said. The hoverboard that caught fire at 7 p.m. on Monday was a "Mini Smart Self Balancing 2  wheel Electric Scooter with LED Light" equipped with a lithium-ion battery, the fire department said.

    Last week, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission was formally investigating 40 hoverboard fires across 19 states.

    In the Petaluma case, Jim Beels was downstairs in his house just a few feet from where the hoverboard caught fire.

    "I came around hearing this sizzle and we're talking 10 seconds or so," Beels said.

    The hoverboard was in his daughter's room charging when he said it caught fire and sparked an indoor fireworks show.

    "Pieces of metal and plastic were ricocheting off the wall and off the door," Beels said.

    Flaming batteries spewed out of the hoverboard, melting carpet in the home. Beels grabbed a fire extinguisher to try and put the flames out.

    "I was trying to shoot all of these spots where stuff was landing," he said. "And it was still on fire."

    The fire left thousands of dollars in damage to the home. No one was injured.

    "It went from being a cool toy to an evil fire shooting off these projectiles," Beels said.

    The Petaluma Fire Department posted a photo of the hoverboard's remains on Instagram Monday night. The fire department is also inspecting Beels' hoverboard.

    Petaluma Fire Department Battalion Chief Mike Medeiros said the lithium-ion batteries in hoverboards are volatile.

    "One of the biggest dangers is we just don't now," Medeiros said. "We don't know how many of these are out there. We don't know when the next event is going to happen.

    Fire officials also said a hoverboard is likely to blame for the fire that destroyed a home Tuesday in Santa Rosa, California, killing the family's two dogs. That hoverboard was a A3 Original Transboard, and contained a lithium-ion battery, which can spark and smoke when it leaks. The family had left the hoverboard charging in the socket when the fire broke out.

    "It's really not worth the fun," Santa Rosa homeowner Dave Carpenter said last week, after his dogs, Bella and Boo died. "My daughter had a great time but not anymore. Unplug them."

    The CPSC released a list last week of 13 hoverboard manufacturers the agency is actively investigating.  The hoverboards involved in the two fires that started in Petaluma and Santa Rosa are not on the list. The agency is also testing hoverboard models at its national testing center.

    A separate statement from the CPSC chairman commended Amazon for offering full refunds on certain brands.

    Consumers are urged to report hoverboard-related fires or injuries through www.SaferProducts.gov.

    Contact Lisa Fernandez at lisa.fernandez@nbcuni.com or 408-432-4758. Follow on Twitter at @ljfernandez