Hoverboard fire dangers: What you need to know before you buy

TAMPA - Whether you call it a hoverboard or balancing board, people are felling actual heat from one of the hottest gifts of the year.

The battery-powered device is believed to have started three fires this past week in Florida, Louisiana and Washington after overheating.

The latest string of incidents has Jesse Witham with Hyperwheel, a Tampa-based company making the toys, getting flooded with questions.

“People want to know. I've heard these batteries blow up? I've heard these batteries catch fire? How can I protect my home, my kids from fire?” said Witham.

His answer is simple: Buy from a reputable company.

“This box has our name, our logo... it's got all of our certifications,” he said.

His biggest concern right now is many companies are taking advantage of the high demand and cutting corners, putting you at risk.

“If a company doesn't have a warranty, don't buy. If a company is overseas and shipping directly from China, I wouldn't buy it. There is no way you can get your money back,” Witham said.

The Fire Marshal’s office is issuing their own warning.

“Everyone has had their cell phone battery heat up on them, so imagine heating up a battery ten times that size. That can cause a fire, and that's what we are concerned about,” said inspector Tom Miller.

Miller said consumers need to follow the manufactures guidelines.

“It’s very important, and a lot of times gifts are going to go to children who may not read those and follow those as directed,” Miller said.

Witham says their hoverboard turns green once it’s charged, recommending to unplug it after.

The company has had no issues so far, saying they are doing everything possible to make this a fun and safe gift.


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