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Toddler’s death said to be first in US caused by hoverboard fire

CeBIT 2016 Digital Technology Trade Fair Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images

A three-year-old girl in Pennsylvania died Saturday morning after being caught in a fire started by an exploding hoverboard. CNN reports that a US Consumer Product Safety Commission official says it’s the first death in the nation linked to a fire from one of the notoriously unsafe devices.

The fire, which started Friday night in a home in Harrisburg, sent several others to the hospital. The girl’s father and a teenage boy were both released, while two other young girls remain in critical condition, according to the report.

An official with the local fire department said the hoverboard had been plugged into a first floor outlet. “[The family] heard some sizzling and cracking in the hoverboard and shortly thereafter it exploded in flames,” said fire chief Brian Enterline, during a press conference early Saturday morning.

The official didn’t state which company manufactured the hoverboard, but many models of the device have been recalled due to fire concerns. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission recalled more than 500,000 units last July, including some from popular brands like Swagway and Razor. At the time, 99 incidents of damage or injury from the devices had been reported.

The recall is still active, and the commission continues to encourage hoverboard owners to “immediately stop using these recalled products” and contact the manufacturer for a replacement or refund.

Newer models of hoverboards are supposed to be UL certified and have gone through battery testing to ensure that they won’t suddenly catch fire. “We would ask that if you're using these things that are knockoff brands and not UL listed, you please not use them,” Enterline said. “We've seen too many fires and too many fire fatalities as a result of these hoverboards.”