A plugged-in hoverboard charging in a family home likely started a weekend fire in the Bay Area – the fourth such blaze since before Christmas and the 48th to be investigated by the federal government in the United States.
Alameda County Fire spokeswoman Aisha Knowles said the fire was reported Saturday just before 3 p.m. on the 800 block of Glen Drive in San Leandro. Firefighters were able to knock down the fire in 10 minutes and have not definitively determined the cause of the fire. But Knowles said investigators found a hoverboard located in the area where the fire started, and that the machine is the most likely culprit. Euel Allen told NBC Bay Area he was charging it for his granddaughter.
Allen said he plugged in the hoverboard Friday night and left it charging overnight. The fire started Saturday afternoon after he left the house to grab a bite to eat at a nearby restaurant.
"There was smoke coming out of the roof, smoke coming out of the windows," neighbor Jean Heller said. "It was really scary. I've never seen a fire like that."
Last week, a hoverboard exploded in Petaluma sending embers all over the house and a few days before, and on Jan. 19, a hoverboard fire in Santa Rosa ended up killing two dogs that were left in the home alone. Right before Christmas, a hoverboard fire broke out in Brentwood.
"It's really not worth the fun," Dave Carpenter told NBC Bay Area after his dogs, Bella and Boo, were killed in the Santa Rosa fire. "My daughter had a great time but not anymore. Unplug them."
As of Monday, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission was officially investigating 48 hoverboard fires in 20 states. The San Leandro fire is California’s 10th hoverboard fire that the federal agency is investigating.
The CPSC has not yet determined the causes of these fires, though many speculate they have something to do with the lithium battery sparking while the machine is charging.
Some safety tips include:
-Check with your retailer regarding the safety of the hoverboard you are purchasing.
-Check to make sure the battery is UL certified.
-Read and follow all manufacturer directions, including recommended charging times.
-Do not leave the hoverboard unattended while charging.
-Charge the hoverboard in an open area away from combustible materials.
-Have a working fire extinguisher nearby while charging or using a hoverboard in and around your home.
-If you notice the hoverboard is hot, stop using it immediately. Call 9-1-1, and if it is safe to do so move the hoverboard outside and away from anything that can burn.
Consumers are urged to report hoverboard-related fires or injuries through www.SaferProducts.gov.