Hoverboard controversy after fire in Australia

Self-balancing hoverboard. Photo / Supplied
Self-balancing hoverboard. Photo / Supplied

Just 10 minutes after a hoverboard was plugged in to charge a Melbourne family was fleeing a fiery blaze that had windows exploding.

A Melbourne father tried to put out the hoverboard fire but it burned too quickly.

His daughter plugged the Christmas present in about 10 minutes before the blaze started in the Strathmore home on Monday night.

"My daughter came running into the lounge room and said there was a fire in the bedroom," Ash Ibraheim told reporters today.

"I ran there to try to put it out. It was too late, the bed had caught fire."

"In the panic of it all, I slipped, fell on my back. And then by the time I sort of came to stand up there was an explosion and I just sort of scrambled and ran out."

The fire got into the roof and ran along to the front of the home, which will likely be bulldozed.

Fire investigator Rod East said the hoverboard's battery had exploded.

"The insides have been spewed out," he said.

"The actual device would have caught fire and it's caught on to the bed and spread through the rest of the house."

Powerboards were plugged throughout the house, which could disrupt flow to charging devices.

Mr East said he wouldn't allow kids to charge any device, let alone hoverboards.

"Me personally, I probably wouldn't let the kids have them unless they're being supervised," he said.

"Overseas, they've been a real big problem. They've had a number of fires, they've had people injured from those fires.

"This is our first one here."

Fire crews retrieved the burnt device and a new one that was undamaged and will hand them over to Energy Safe Victoria to examine.

The regulator will track down the product's distributor in NSW.

ESV spokesman Neil Fraser said five varieties of hoverboard had already been recalled across Australia, because they had non-compliant chargers.

A recall notice would be issued immediately if the model in the Melbourne home was found to have an inherent problem.

"Exercise caution. Don't leave it unattended while you're charging it until we know what make and model this one was," Mr Fraser told AAP.

HOVERBOARD HINTS

• Hoverboards are also known as self-balancing scooters
• They're electrical, two-wheeled devices
• Prices range from $200 to $2400
• Speed and steering controlled by shift in rider's weight
• Have an in-built battery charged by connection to power source
• Overcharging dodgy devices may cause overheating of the battery, and cause fire
• Packaging should have the Australian RCM, a tick surrounded by a triangle
• That shows product complies with electrical safety requirements

(Source: ACCC)

- AAP

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