( 4UMF NEWS ) Hoverboard Fire Destroys $1M Home:
A Tennessee family is begging others to heed their costly loss, which authorities are saying was caused by a popular 2015 Christmas present.
Local and state fire officials say hoverboards are to blame for two fires over the past month in Nashville — including one that destroyed a $1 million home last month.
At 11:40 a.m. on Jan. 9, two teenagers — a 14-year-old boy and a 16-year-old girl — hid upstairs in a home in Nashville after hearing noises downstairs, Nashville Fire Department spokesman Brian Haas said Tuesday. What the teens did not know was a hoverboard had burst into flames on the first floor of the house, Haas said.
To escape the home that was filling with smoke, the teenage girl kicked out a second-floor window and leaped into her father’s arms. The father, Brian Fox, then helped the teenage boy out a second-story window with a ladder, Haas said. Both teens suffered minor injuries in the process.
“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.”
The Fox family spoke to reporters in the home of a friend Tuesday, saying they could not believe “a toy” had destroyed their home.
Brian Fox said that they wanted to get the word out and let other families know the dangers of something that at first seemed so innocent.
“It was a hoverboard that destroyed our house,” Fox said. “It started as just a toy.”
“We just want other families to be aware,” mother Megan Fox said.
Fox recounted discovering that the flames inside the house were too high for him to reach the children upstairs, and hearing them break through the second-story windows to get out.
“It was the hardest thing that I’ve been through,” he said. “When I got there, I was kicking in the doors, and I thought, ‘I’m going to lose two of my four children today.’ ”
Fox said he heard his 16-year-old daughter breaking through her bathroom window. He then begged her to jump into his arms.
He said his 14-year-old son had tried to come downstairs and escape but burned his hand on a doorknob and was forced to break his bedroom window with a stepladder to escape.
“I couldn’t be prouder of the two of them,” Fox said.
The teenagers were both treated for minor injuries.
The blaze destroyed the 4,000-plus-square-foot home, Haas said.
Fire department investigators determined the fire was caused by a FITURBO F1 hoverboard, Haas said. A subsequent investigation revealed friends of the family had experienced a small fire when their “FITURBO F1” hoverboard caught fire in its battery compartment.
The Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office said the blaze was the first confirmed house fire caused by a hoverboard in Tennessee. Because of a growing number of similar cases across the nation, they are “strongly warning Tennesseans to use extreme caution if they choose to purchase a hoverboard.”
Those who own a hoverboard are asked to always use the manufacturer-supplied charger.
“If you own a hoverboard, do not leave it unattended while charging,” State Fire Marshal Gary West said. “Do not leave it plugged into an outlet overnight.”
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is investigating dozens of fires across the United States thought to be caused by hoverboards, state fire officials said.
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