FIREFIGHTERS have blamed a hoverboard for sparking a house fire in Melbourne’s northwest that has left a family homeless.
The family fled the home in Lebanon St, Strathmore, just after 6pm yesterday when fire crews were called.
The hoverboard was being charged in a bedroom. MFB western zone acting commander Phil Smith said a part of the hoverboard caught fire and quickly spread.
It took 25 firefighters almost an hour to extinguish the fire but the house was badly damaged.
Mr Smith said it was a reminder of just how dangerous hoverboards can be.
“We are unsure at this stage on whether it was the charger, the cables or the cords that started the blaze but it’s just very lucky no one was injured,” he said.
“These toys have been very controversial so I would suggest if you or your family member have one, to keep an eye on where in the house it is charged and make sure there are no toys or flammable items around.”
The hoverboard — retailing for between $200 and $2400 — was the must-have Christmas item but Australian consumer watchdog Choice warned buyers about the potential fire risk. There have been reports of the toy bursting into flames and starting fires in the US and the UK.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, which is also in charge of product safety recalls, also told consumers to take care when choosing and recharging the transport devices as they could overheat or catch fire if charged too long.
The hoverboard obsession got out of hand in US on Saturday when a 16-year-old girl was shot in the back when two men tried to steal a hoverboard she got for Christmas.
The teen was shot around 6pm after the robbers followed her home, Fox 5 Atlanta reported. Doryan Sanford said his sister was riding the hoverboard and didn’t realise she had been followed by robbers.
“He just said, ‘Give it up,’ and I said, ‘What?’ He pulled out a gun and put it to my face,” Sanford told Fox 5 Atlanta. “I pushed him back. That’s when I tried to close the door and that’s when the bullet came through and hit my sister.”
The bullet cam out the girl’s side and she is recovering in hospital.
Even Russell Crowe got caught up in some hoverboard drama when Virgin Australia Airlines refused to allow his kids to pack their hoverboards as luggage.
Crowe went off on Twitter last week and vowed “never again” to fly Virgin Australia.
“Ridiculous @VirginAustralia,” Crowe raged online. “No Segway boards as luggage? Too late to tell us at airport. Kids and I offloaded. Goodbye Virgin. Never again.”
Virgin responded to the movie star, saying: “We understand your frustration, however please appreciate that safety is our number one priority.”