Tennessee Warns of Hoverboard Dangers After 2 Nashville Home Fires

February 12, 2016
An estimated $1 million home on Radcliff Drive was destroyed on Jan. 9, 2016, by a fire that Nashville Fire investigators believe was caused by a hoverboard device. (Nashville Fire Department)

The Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFMO) has renewed a consumer alert about the potential fire hazards of so-called “hoverboard” toys after two fires were caused by these devices in the past three months in Nashville. One of the fires destroyed a $1 million home, which is first confirmed house fire caused by a hoverboard in Tennessee.

“The Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance and the Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office renew our strong warning to Tennessee consumers about so-called ‘hoverboard’ devices becoming potential fire hazards to Tennessee consumers,” Tennessee Commerce & Insurance Deputy Commissioner Gary West said. “The recent fire in Nashville is the first reported fire in Tennessee caused by one of these devices. One hoverboard-related fire is one fire too many.”

Nashville Fire investigators shared details and photos of their investigation.

  • At 11:40 p.m. on Jan. 9, 2016, on Radcliff Drive in Nashville, two teens hid upstairs in a home after hearing noises downstairs. Unbeknownst to them, a FITURBO F1 “hoverboard” had burst into flames on the first floor. Upon being confronted with smoke, a 16-year-old girl kicked out a second-floor window and leapt into her father’s arms. Both received minor injuries in the process. The father then helped the 14-year-old boy out a second-story window with a ladder.
  • The two teens were both taken to Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt with minor injuries. The father, who injured his arm while trying to catch his daughter, said he would drive himself to the emergency room.
  • The fire destroyed the 4,000-plus square-foot home.

The Nashville Fire Department investigators determined that the fire was caused by the FITURBO F1 hoverboard. A subsequent investigation revealed that friends of the family who lost their home on Jan. 9 also experienced a small fire when their FITURBO F1 hoverboard – purchased in the same batch – caught fire in its battery compartment. Fortunately, only the hoverboard was damaged in that fire.

“We are fortunate that there were only minor injuries in what was an extremely dangerous fire,” said Nashville Fire Chief Rick White. “We hope Nashvillians use extreme caution before purchasing or using these hoverboards.”

TDCI offered the following hoverboard safety tips:

  • If you do own a hoverboard, always use the manufacturer-supplied charge.
  • Do not leave it unattended while charging or plugged into an outlet overnight.
  • Do not overcharge the device and follow the manufacturer’s recommended charging times.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is currently investigating dozens of such fires across the United States thought to be caused by hoverboards. The Radcliff Drive fire is now among those being investigated.

Source: Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance

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