Hoverboard explosion sparks house fire in Dania Beach

DANIA BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - A hoverboard explosion is to blame for a house fire in Dania Beach, Monday afternoon.

According to Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue, a hoverboard burst into flames inside of a home located along the 800 block of Argonaut Isle, at around 3 p.m.

Fire rescue officials said Lawrence Gaalswyk was inside his home when he heard a loud noise that sounded like someone was banging on the door. “There was a good pop, bang,” said the homeowner.

Instead, Gaalswyk found what looked like a fireworks display inside one of their home’s bedrooms. “I saw literally an orange glow coming out of the bedroom, and sparks and chunks of plastic and parts, whatever, flying out of the bedroom,” he said. “There were chunks bigger than a golf ball, of burning plastic and metal.”

The homeowner said he then carefully walked toward the bedroom for a closer inspection. “I kind of peeked around the doorway, and the hoverboard was there, and it was exploding,” he said.

Gaalswyk said the board, which belonged to his son, had been left plugged into an electrical outlet for two weeks when it exploded.

When the hoverboard exploded in one bedroom, Gaalswyk said, it sent pieces into a second bedroom, causing both rooms to catch fire. “There were chunks bigger than a golf ball,” he said. “It was burning plastic and metal.”

Gaalswyk immediately called 911, and fire rescue crews arrived at the scene shortly after.

Officials said the batteries shot out of the hoverboard. “Those batteries basically took off like a Roman candle,” said Broward Sheriff Office spokesperson Mike Jachles.

The homeowner said his son’s bedroom sustained serious damage, and his daughter’s bedroom was destroyed.

“Right now, he’s probably looking at $25,000 to $50,000 worth of damage,” said Jachles.

The homeowner said the hoverboard was purchased online at a discount, something that, officials said, is a dangerous combination. “There’s no quality control,” said Jachles. “The stuff is made overseas. You don’t know what you are getting.”

Officials said consumers shopping for a hoverboard need to ensure the device has a mark of quality control. “If you’re buying electronics, first of all, make sure you’re buying reliable electronics from an approved, tested laboratory,” said Jachles. “What that means is something like ‘UL,’ you see the ‘UL’ label, ‘Underwriters Laboratories.’ That means those electronics are tested and approved for use in the United States.”

The hoverboard was then taken away by an investigator. Experts said Gaalswyk’s hoverboard had not been tested in the U.S.

As for Gaalswyk, he said he’s done with the transportation technology. “Well, there will be no more hoverboards in my house,” he said.

Fortunately, Gaalswyk said, his wife and children were away on vacation at the time of the blaze. “I’m so grateful that they were not here and that I was here, as fast as it went,” he said.

Officials reminded hoverboard owners to never leave their boards charging for an extended period of time.

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