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Police: Charging Hoverboard Batteries Ignited Garfield Office Fire

The office was severely damaged. Photo Credit: COURTESY: Garfield PD
No one was injured. Photo Credit: COURTESY: Garfield PD

GARFIELD, N.J. – Two charging hoverboard batteries exploded, igniting a fire in a Garfield office, authorities said Thursday.

Police Officer William Houck and Detective Michael Latona were met by smoke pouring from the front door of Mega-USA Hoverboards on Lanza Avenue just after 3 p.m. Wednesday, Lt. Richard Uram said.

“Two multi-color 10 inch SmartlO Balance Wheels (Model S2-15) were charging on the desk inside the office,” Uram sad. “The batteries exploded and caught fire.”

A worker quickly squelched a first battery fire with a chemical extinguisher but failed when a second ignited minutes later, the lieutenant said.

Firefighters quickly put down the blaze and ventilated the building, he said.

The hoverboards were valued at $210 each, Uram said.

Capt. Raymond Kovach urged citizens to use caution with hoverboads, given the potential dangers.

The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends that you:

  • Avoid buying a hoverboard at a location (such as a mall kiosk) or on a website that doesn’t have information about who is selling the product and how they can be contacted if there is a problem. If you don’t think you could find the seller again were a problem to arise with your board steer clear of doing business with them’
  • Don’t charge a hoverboard overnight or when you are not able to see it. Charge and store in an open dry area away from items that can catch fire’
  • Don’t charge the board directly after riding. Let it cool for an hour first.
  • If giving a hoverboard as a gift, leave it in its partially charged state. Don’t take it out of the package to bring it to a full charge and then rewrap.
  • Look for the mark of a certified national testing laboratory. While this does not rule out counterfeits, the absence of such a mark means your safety is likely not a priority for that manufacturer.
  • Don’t ride the hoverboard near any vehicular traffic.

From the National Fire Prevention Association:

  • Choose a device with the seal of an independent testing laboratory;
  • Read and follow all manufacturer directions. If you do not understand the directions, ask for help;
  • An adult should be responsible for charging the hover board;
  • Do not leave a charging hover board unattended;
  • Never leave the hover board plugged in overnight;
  • Only use the charging cord that came with the hover board* Stop using your hover board if it overheats;
  • Extreme hot or cold temperature can hurt the battery;
  • Be on the lookout for product updates from manufacturers and safety groups;
  • Many airlines have banned hover boards. If you plan to fly with a hover board, be sure to check with your air carrier;
  • When riding in a car, keep the hover board where you can see it in case it shows signs of a problem.

Signs of a Problem:

  • Leaking fluids
  • Excessive heat
  • Odor
  • Sparking
  • Smoke

If you notice any of these signs, stop using the device right away. Dial 911. If safe to do so, move the hover board outside away from anything that can burn.

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