Hoverboard catches fire in NJ — just the latest as boards explode nationwide
Did Santa get you a fire hazard this year?
Lanoka Harbor Fire Station 61 is warning Lacey-area residents to be careful on new hover boards — as the station responded Sunday to a call of one catching fire. It's one of several such fires reported across the country in recent weeks.
No one was hurt, but residents were home at the time of the fire, the station said in a Facebook post. It told residents not to leave the hover boards unattended and to monitor them while charging
The matter is under investigation by the Ocean County Fire Marshall's Office.
In a statement earlier this month by Consumer Product Safety Commission Chairman Elliot Kaye, he said he's had staff working nonstop to determine the root cause of an apparent fire hazard with hover boards and to find out just how much of a risk they are.
"Every consumer who is riding a hoverboard, who purchased one to give as a gift during the holidays, or who is thinking about buying one deserves to know if there is a safety defect," he wrote.
He said the CPSC is investigating several fires across the country, and experts are looking closely at how battery backs are configured.
Kaye also said the CPSC has taken several calls about serious injuries due to falling from hoverboards.
An article by consumer technology site Arstechnica.com suggested avoiding hoverboards built with cheap materials — though it warned "there's no silver bullet" when it comes to determining which hoverboards are safe and which may catch fire.
It said lithium ion batteries used in most hoverboards might be cheaply produced — and they take a beating every time a user goes for a ride.
It also suggested looking for UL safety certifications on chargers or, when possible, on batteries as well.
"Some hoverboards, like Swagway's devices, have UL-certified battery cell packs, but it's more common to see a brand highlight the UL-certification of its charger rather than the batteries themselves. Of the devices readily available on Amazon, Swagway and Jetson Electric list UL-certified chargers as included with their hoverboards," the report said.
Amazon earlier this month warned consumers hoverboards may be unsafe, and has stopped selling many of them.
Swagway said in a statement it had asked Amazon to take steps to weed out low-quality hoverboards that may be dangerous.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection Holiday Advice for Consumers said in early December its screenings had led to the seizure of 164 hoverboards with fake batteries or counterfeit marks — including counterfeit UL marks.