Family warns of hoverboard fire dangers

The incident destroyed the hoverboard's charging station. (WKBN)


POLAND, Ohio (WKBN) – At 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Lisa Havlin was in the laundry room of her Ohio home when her daughter started screaming.

“I could see the smoke from here,” Havlin said. “It was billowing up… It was just like a smoke bomb.”

The smoke was coming from the charger of her son’s MonoRover, a brand of hoverboard. Lisa Havlin was concerned the chair would catch fire, so her daughter’s boyfriend made a decision.

“It was not plugged into the MonoRover. It was only plugged into the wall,” she said. “So he grabbed the plug out of the wall, and opened the door, and threw it outside.”

The Havlins are one of several families who say they have experienced a dangerous situation involving the toys.

There has been a string of recent incidents involving fires and hoverboards- the two-wheeled, self-balancing scooters that many teenagers want for Christmas.

Tuesday at a mall near Seattle, a hoverboard caught fire next to a kiosk selling them.

In North Carolina, another woman said her home was burned to the ground after her hoverboard caught fire.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is investigating at least 10 reports of hoverboard fires, some of which were captured on video. Spokeswoman Patty Davis called it a high-priority investigation because of the scooter’s sudden popularity.

In the meantime, the three largest U.S. air carriers- Delta Air Lines, American Airlines and United Airlines – said Thursday they are banning hoverboards in any luggage due to the potential fire danger from the lithium-ion batteries that power the devices. JetBlue Airways has already prohibited them.

Lisa’s son, 14-year-old Nick Havlin, saved the $600 for the MonoRover he purchased in July. He said he charges it every day, sometimes for as long as 12 hours. He added that there is nothing in the instruction manual about overcharging.

“It just says to reach a max charge is just two and a half hours, but it doesn’t say take it off at this point, or like, there’s no warnings about anything that could happen,” he said.

Lisa Havlin said she wanted to warn other parents who may be considering purchasing a MonoRover or hoverboard as a gift this holiday season.

“I wanted people to know that they really do have a problem and to just rethink getting one for Christmas,” she said.

No marks were left around the outlet and the Havlin house was not damaged. The only thing destroyed was the charger.

Nick hopes to convince his mother to let him get a new charger; Lisa said she’s not so sure.

“I’m debating whether to get it, because if this happens again, it’s too dangerous, I think,” she said.

The family said they have sent an email to the MonoRover company, which is located in Kansas, but they haven’t heard back. WKBN reached out to the company as well and didn’t receive a response.


The original version of this story was first published on wkbn.com. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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