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Crabtree Mall suspends hoverboard sales after Cary family's board ignites

Posted December 22, 2015

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— Crabtree Valley Mall has suspended sales of all hoverboard scooters after a Cary family said one of the boards purchased at the mall caught fire as it was charging inside their home.

The hoverboard fire in Cary continues a national trend of the popular holiday gifts igniting: The Consumer Product Safety Commission is investigating at least 11 other incidents of hoverboard fires across the country, and online retailers such as Amazon and Overstock have pulled the rolling scooters due to their potential hazards.

"It started to smoke and shake, and then truly all of a sudden it ignited in flames," said the mother of the Cary family, who declined to be identified.

The mom said she watched her 16-year-old daughter’s hoverboard explode as it was charging in the family’s living room Sunday night.

"My husband was quick to get a fire extinguisher, and he sprayed it, and then it stopped, but then it comes roaring back, and it popped," the mom said. "It sounds like fireworks – when people say that, they’re telling the truth."

The hoverboard was an early Christmas gift from her daughter's boyfriend, who got it for $427 from a kiosk vendor at Crabtree Valley Mall.

"Other than looking at this very generic user manual, we didn’t say, 'Huh, there’s no warranty,'" the mom said.

The family said they were diligent about following the instructions not to charge the hoverboard for more than 2 hours and 15 minutes. But the hoverboard still caught fire.

Consumer Reports issued a blistering review, warning shoppers that many hoverboards are off-brand, made in small, unregulated factories in China, and have the potential to overheat and ignite.

"It's definitely very terrifying to think that kids are going to get these for Christmas, and the same thing could happen to them," said the daughter who received the board.

The vendor of the hoverboard kiosk at Crabtree Valley Mall. who also declined to be identified, defended the products, saying they’re in use at the mall up to 14 hours a day. He said he's never seen a problem or gotten a similar complaint. The kiosk is owned by SimcLLC.

“This vendor has operated at Crabtree Valley Mall for a number of years without any issues," said Brian Asbill, a spokesman for the mall. "Prior to selling this product, the vendor sought and received assurances from its supplier that the batteries were tested and certified. However, in light of this incident, sales of this product have been suspended.”

The mall said the kiosk was the only vendor selling hoverboards.

5 Comments

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  • Chad Marley Dec 24, 2015
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    http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/hoverboards/2957159

  • Arthur Raleigh Dec 22, 2015
    user avatar

    Wow! I can't believe people will spend $500 on that!! Buy a bike!

  • bigwilliejohnson4phun Dec 22, 2015

    Wow, I heard the sales were really hot for this item:) I wanted to get one to make my evening jog easier, and improve my health.

  • Lenny Cruz Dec 22, 2015
    user avatar

    My son has one and I have him set a timer whiling it's being charged and not to leave it unattended and I tell him not to charge it immediately after riding it because the battery may be hot. It's a scary thing and I hope that this gets resolved because my son really enjoys riding his. Sounds like to me that the weight of the person riding it could be putting a squeeze on the batteries causing them to get punctured. So maybe the maximum rider weight should be reevaluated.

  • Chrystal Williams Dec 22, 2015
    user avatar

    I was just there tonight, 2 hrs ago and that kiosk is still there, operating, selling with employees.