Popular Christmas Gift That Burned Down Their Whole House
Every year, one toy or gift item is christened as the “hot” Christmas gift of the holiday season. One year, Tickle-Me-Elmo was hot. Another year saw shoppers fighting each other to secure a Cabbage Patch Doll. This year, the “hot” item appears to be a battery-powered, single-wheel device similar to a skateboard called a hoverboard. To a family in Louisiana, however, the descriptive word “hot” has a double meaning.
According to BuzzFeed News, Jessica Horne told firemen that after only one ride by her 12-year-old son Hayden on a recently purchased hoverboard, the device began “to shoot sparks” while it was being charged. “Within minutes,” she said, “the entire room was in flames.” Jessica purchased the self-balancing scooter on Amazon from a company called Fitburo. The hoverboard was supposed to be a Christmas present for Hayden, but he to so excited when it was delivered to the house in late November, she let him open the carton early.
Hayden’s mom posted videos on her Facebook page of her son tearing the carton open and yelling with delight as he pulled the hoverboard out and showed it to the camera. She even captured a few minutes of his very first ride and posted that sequence too. Then the battery ran low.
After plugging the manufacturer-supplied battery charger into a wall socket, Hayden plugged the hoverboard into the charger. That’s when the fireworks began. Sparks and flames shot out of the hoverboard’s electric motor. Smoke began to fill the room. Mother and son began to shriek when flames jumped to the window curtains. While Jessica called 911, Hayden searched for the family dog as the fire spread to the walls and ceiling.
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By the time the first truck from the Jean Lafitte Fire Department arrived on scene within minutes of the 911 call, the room was destroyed and the flames were beginning to engulf the entire structure. According to an interview on WGNO television, Horne said she wrote on her Facebook page that she could hear the dog whimpering inside the burning house. A fireman quickly found the family dog, brought her outside and revived her with oxygen. The good news is the dog recovered fully. The bad news is the house didn’t. It was declared uninhabitable and a total loss.
A family friend launched a GoFundMe page to raise money for the Horne family toward securing new housing and replacing all of their lost contents. As in cases like this, several attorneys have stepped forward to help sue the Fitburo, the hoverboard manufacturer.
On top of the loss of the Horne’s place of residence and personal belongings, the house they were renting had no fire insurance. It was a double tragedy all around.
Nationwide, there have been no injuries reported because of the sparking battery chargers, but at least eight people have ended up in emergency rooms because of injuring incurred from falling off the motorized board.
Best advice: think twice about purchasing a motorized hoverboard for Christmas. The risk of owning the “hottest” gimmick of the year doesn’t appear to be worth the reward.