A mum has warned parents to take care when buying hoverboards after her son’s went up in flames while charging next to his bed.
Steph Edwards, from Abergavenny, Wales bought her 10-year-old son Josh a two-wheeled self-balancing electronic scooter known as a hoverboard for Christmas last year.
The mother-of-four bought it online from a website she thought was reputable for around £200 and Josh had used it a couple of times with no problems.
But last Monday evening, while Josh was charging the electronic device fully for the first time, the hoverboard set alight and flames spread to his bed and flooring.
After the fire, the hoverboard itself was a charred wreck, with its plastic casing melted.
Ms Edwards fears that if her 12-year-old daughter Tirion hadn’t heard the device ‘making popping noises’ from her own bedroom, the fire could have destroyed her home.
Now Ms Edwards is warning other parents thinking about buying a hoverboard to check it is from a reputable brand and has a British or European safety mark or carries CE certification.
Ms Edwards said: ‘I was in the living room with my partner and the baby and my daughter was upstairs.
‘Luckily she didn’t have her headphones on and could hear it because I couldn’t hear a thing.
‘She said she heard popping noises and a small bang. She went in and saw the bed was on fire.
‘She came running down the stairs in a state saying the bedroom was on fire. I couldn’t smell anything and the smoke alarms hadn’t gone off so I said ‘don’t be so stupid’.
‘My partner Chris went upstairs and saw the entire bed was on fire.
‘He started pouring water on it and we phoned the fire service. He managed to put the fire out but it re-lit itself.
‘My neighbour is an ex-fireman and he told us to get out of the house immediately.
‘We’re in the process of trying to find out what brand it was because I can’t remember where we got it from.’
At the time, the couple’s 18-month-old baby Carter was also at home. Luckily, nobody was hurt.
‘Luckily we managed to all get out,’ she said. The bed was badly damaged and the flooring underneath but it’s mostly smoke damage and it could have been a lot worse.
We can replace what’s in the bedroom but you can’t replace a life.
‘When Josh got home he was in tears because he saw me crying and we didn’t know how bad the damage was.
‘He had put it on charge next to his bed and had gone out with his friend for an hour or so.
He was expecting to come back to a fully charged hoverboard so he could go out with his friend who has one as well.
‘We had two of them. The other one is fine but it’s in the garden.
‘I’m not having them in the house again. I don’t want to tell people not to buy them, but just make sure you know what you’re buying and that it’s safe.
‘I know sometimes you look for a bargain and you think it’s worth it but it’s not.’
A spokesperson for South Wales Fire and Rescue Service said: ‘At approximately 6pm on Monday (June 24) we received reports of a domestic fire in Abergavenny.
‘We mobilised a fire appliance and successfully extinguished the fire, which is believed to have started by a hoverboard.’
Dean Loader, head of community safety for the service, said: ‘We understand hoverboards have become increasingly popular in recent years.
‘However, we would advise those who currently have one or are looking to purchase one or any other rechargeable electrical devices to ensure the product is safe to use.
‘We would recommend making sure their device has a British or European safety mark which ensures all electrical equipment follows strict safety regulations.
‘Only buy from reputable retailers you know and trust, that way if something goes wrong you can contact the retailer or manufacturer.
Never buy an electrical device unless it has instructions on how to charge it safely and do not leave it charging unattended for extended periods – there have been a number of incidents nationally and internationally in which overheating while charging has caused a fire.
‘Always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines on charging and never charge it near soft furnishings or other combustibles.
‘Only use the charger supplied with the item – connections of other chargers may seem similar or even identical but the power rating may be different, which can cause a fire.
‘If the battery is damaged in any way make sure you dispose of it immediately.
‘If you suspect you have a sub-standard or faulty product stop using it immediately and report the fault to the manufacturer or retailer (if known) and the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06.’