A multiple-alarm fire broke out in a home in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on Friday, killing a toddler. According to NBC News, officials traced the blaze to a hoverboard that caught fire while plugged into an electrical socket on the first floor of the three-story house.
“They heard some sizzling and crackling in the hoverboard and shortly thereafter, it exploded in flames,” Brian Enterline, the city of Harrisburg’s fire chief, told the Associated Press.
A spokesman for the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission said that the fire was the first fatal incident linked to hoverboards. The agency has investigated 60 cases of hoverboard fires in the past year and a half. The investigation into the fire is ongoing.
After the scooters emerged as one of the hottest gifts of the 2015 holiday season, reports of hoverboard fires soon began to surface. The devices’ rechargeable lithium-ion cells contain a potentially flammable solution, which can explode if the battery is damaged or defective.
NFPA’s Hoverboard Safety tip sheet includes these precautions:
- Read and follow all manufacturer’s instructions.
- Do not leave a hoverboard unattended.
- Stop using your hoverboard if it overheats.
- Never leave the hoverboard plugged in overnight.
The tip sheet also includes a list of signs to look for indicating that there is a problem with the hoverboard and what to do if you notice any of these signs.
A firefighter also died while responding to the blaze. Lieutenant Dennis Devoe, a 21-year veteran of the Harrisburg department, was killed on his way to the fire station when another car struck his vehicle. Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf ordered flags at the state’s capitol to fly at half-staff in DeVoe’s honor.