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Norfolk family's lucky escape from hoverboard fire

Norfolk County Council, 1 December 2023 22:57

The Wallace family know they had a lucky escape after their son's hoverboard caught fire while charging inside their house. 

Eight-year-old Dylan was fast asleep in bed, while his mum Lucy and dad Dan were watching television in the living room of their Watton home on the night of the fire.  

"I heard the hoverboard come on and it banged against the wall in the hallway behind me twice," said Lucy. 

"I opened the door and then the flames came - there was a massive amount of flames." 

Lucy ran back through the living room and upstairs to get Dylan, the first floor of their house already filled with smoke.  

"I grabbed Dylan from his bed and held his head outside the window so he could get a deep breath, then I carried him back downstairs and out into the back garden," she said. 

Meanwhile Dan tried to get the burning hoverboard outside - something that caused serious burns on his feet - and rang 999 for Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service.  

The family had lost the original charger for the hoverboard and, after failing to find the same one again, had bought a charger online which fitted the device. Norfolk County Council's Trading Standards department has said it was using this charger which would have caused the fire.

"The fire was so scary, it happened so quickly," said Lucy.  

"I am really careful about charging things and having things plugged in. I would never charge anything overnight, and I switch things off at the wall when we go out. I know that if this had happened when we were asleep it would have been a very different story." 

Hoverboards, like a lot of household electrical and electronic goods, contain lithium batteries. The bigger these batteries are, the more of a fire risk they pose, if safety advice is not followed.  

Terry Pinto, Group Manager - Prevention Lead, at Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service said: "We are seeing a small but steady increase in fires caused by lithium batteries as items such as e-bikes, e-scooters and hoverboards are becoming more popular.  

"As the Wallace family experienced, these can very quickly become large blazes.  

"Our advice, and that of our colleagues in Trading Standards, to prevent these types of fires and keep people in our communities safe is to always buy from reputable retailers, only use the chargers that come with the products and make sure you are awake and around when these items are charging." 

Remember these five tips to stay safe with lithium batteries: 

  1. Keep e-bikes, e-scooters and hoverboards outside your house, if possible.
  2. If that is not possible, store them and charge them in a room with a door that can be closed.
  3. Never charge them anywhere that could block your escape route, like in a hallway or near a front or back door.
  4. Always charge when you are awake and around.  
  5. In the case of any fire: Get out, stay out and call 999.

For more information and advice about staying safe with lithium batteries, visit www.norfolk.gov.uk/lithiumbatteries 

Last modified: 30 January 2024 13:34