Exploding hoverboard causes £25K worth of damage – story in the Daily Mail…
Grandfather was charging a hoverboard he’d bought grandchildren for Christmas when it went off like a bomb.
I was shocked when Paul Hodkinson contacted me at Featureworld and I saw the pictures of his blackened home but I knew straightaway it would be a story many papers would be interested in.
With Christmas round the corner, Paul Hodkinson had believed the perfect present for three of his grandchildren would be ‘back to the future’ hoverboards.
However he and wife Elaine, 57, were lucky to escaped with their lives after one of the hoverboards exploded in their kitchen, causing over £25,000 worth of damage.
Mr Hodkinson, who with his wife has six grandchildren, described how the £300 hoverboard – also known as a balance scooter – fizzed ‘like a firework’ before detonating like a bomb in their three bed semi in Deal Kent.
‘Elaine and I are in shock,’ he said, ‘you don’t expect a toy you buy for your grandchildren to explode like that. If one of the grandchildren had been anywhere near that scooter they could have been killed.
‘And it’s lucky that both of us got out of the house when we did. Otherwise we dread to think what might have happened.’
Sales of hoverboards have recently surged with many online retailers reporting recent rises of over 200 per cent. They are expected to be this year’s must-have Christmas gadget with many parents expected to buy them as presents for their children.
Their popularity has been put down to the cult classic film Back to the Future II. In the film mad scientist Doc Brown takes Marty Mcfly to October 21 2015 where people travelled using flying cars and kids owned hoverboards.
But last week following another incident where a hoverboard went up in flames, London Fire Brigade issued a warning of the dangers by leaving them unattended while charging.
Mr Hodkinson, a courier, bought the hoverboards off the Internet for the three eldest grandchildren and one for a friend’s daughter.
He said: ‘The week before I took one of them to show two of my grandchildren, Jayden, six and Connor-Jay, 13 to check they would be big enough to use them.
‘They thought the scooters were fantastic. I knew they really wanted one and I felt so happy we’d sorted out their Christmas presents early this year. We couldn’t wait to see their faces when they unwrapped them on Christmas day.’
To check they all worked, Mr Hodkinson plugged one of the hoverboards into charge in the kitchen.
He said: ‘Elaine and I were in the living room nextdoor when we heard a massive swoosh. Through a glass door to the kitchen we could see a bright yellow glow of flames.
Mr Hodkinson, 44, opened the door to be met with flames leaping from the battery pack of the hoverboard.
He says: ‘For a moment I froze – there was an instinct to try and put the flames out. But then I heard the hoverboard fizzing in the flames. It sounded like a firework.
‘Thankfully at that moment I decided to close the door and call the firebrigade because within seconds there was a massive bang and the hoverboard exploded.
‘It was terrifying – like a mini bomb going off.
‘It was so loud we later discovered neighbours heard it three houses away.’
The couple fled their house, with the fire fighters arriving seven minutes later.
Mr Hodkinson said: ‘We were horrified when we saw the damage. The kitchen is just blackened – obliterated beyond all belief – and the rest of the house is smoke damaged.
‘The fire was so extensive all we could do was salvage a few belongings. Since then we’ve had to stay at my daughter’s house.’
He added: ‘’I keep thinking what would happen if one of these exploded near a child. My biggest fear is that someone else won’t be as fortunate as we are – and it won’t just be their house which is ruined – someone will be killed.
‘The explosion came without any warning. The hoverboard had only been on charge for an hour.
‘There is no way we will even contemplate allowing any of our grandchildren near them.’
The couple say they have no idea when they will be able to return to the house. Said Mr Hodkinson: ‘It’s in the hands of insurers now but the damage is so extensive it could be months before the house is put right.’
Last month two men escaped through a first floor window after a fire broke out at a house in Morden, London. The men heard a ‘banging’ noise before discovering the blaze in a room where a hoverboard had been charging.
Meanwhile, BBC’s investigation programme Watchdog raised concerns about the plugs supplied with some hoverboards, most of which are made in China, as they did not appear to be standard British plugs.
The investigation found the plugs did not have fuses and could be at risk of overheating, exploding and catching fire.
Charlie Pugsley, Head of Fire Investigation at the Brigade said: ‘We’d urge people to keep an eye on their devices whilst they are on charge.’
A spokesman for Kent Fire and Rescue service said: ‘Our crews were called to a fire in a home in Deal on 22 October. Fire fighters using breathing apparatus dealt with the fire, which appears to have been caused by a hoverboard being charged in the kitchen.’
Have you had a problem with a hoverboard? Do let me know…