New Jersey

Hoverboard Catches Fire in Jersey Shore Home

Officials are investigating after a hoverboard caught fire in a South Jersey home, authorities said.

Kim Whalen told NBC10 she was charging a hoverboard she had bought for her 11-year-old son Craig Alterisio inside their Lacey Township home when it suddenly ignited in their living room.

"It sounded like an actual bomb went off," Whalen said.

Whalen's older son put out the flames with a fire extinguisher, but not before the blast and flying debris burned their carpet and part of their kitchen floor.

"I saw pieces flying everywhere and it was just on fire and these huge flames," said Alterisio. "I was really scared."

Fortunately no one was hurt during the incident.

"If my son was on top of that board at the time I don't even want to think about what could have happened," Whalen said.

Lanoka Harbor Fire Station 61 responded to the fire and published two photos on Facebook showing the charred hoverboard and surrounding carpet.

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FYI Be careful when charging up Hover boards, we responded to call today due to a hoverboard catching fire. Do not leave...

Posted by Lanoka Harbor Fire Station 61 on Sunday, December 27, 2015

"It appears an explosion occurred somewhere in the area of the batteries that were on charge to the unit," said Assistant Ocean County Fire Marshal Ed Hazelton.

Hoverboards are motorized, two-wheel, skateboard-sized scooters that users stand on. They have been a hot gift item at some retailers though several reports have been made nationwide of the devices exploding. Federal authorities are investigating. The three largest U.S. airlines banned them because of potential fire danger from the lithium-ion batteries that power the devices.

"If we have the booklet, the user manual here, there's a warranty card and other information but nowhere does it tell you an address or the manufacturer of this product and that should raise some concerns immediately," said Ocean County Fire Marshal Daniel Mulligan.

After Sunday's incident, Whalen wants to warn other parents who bought the popular device.

"I would advise any parents who have one of these to send it back to the company because it can happen," she said.

Experts urge people to charge the boards in dry, open areas, preferably outside and only when they can be closely watched.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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