A 'hoverboard' charger bought over the internet as a Christmas gift has caught fire, destroying a home in Melbourne's northern suburbs.
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Charger blamed in hoverboard blaze
'No device should not be left charging 24 hours a day' warn authorities, after a hoverboard toy sparks a house fire in Strathmore. Courtesy ABC News 24.
Energy Safe Victoria said the charger failed to meet electrical-safety standards.
Sparks from the products caused a fire at a house in Strathmore on Monday night.
Neil Fraser, the safety authority's executive manager of electrical installations, licensing and equipment safety, said the charger did not meet safety standards.
Hampering efforts investigate the fire, the 'hoverboards' and chargers do not have any brand name attached.
Ash Ibraheim, a tenant of the destroyed home, said he had purchased 'hoverboards' - or self-balancing scooters - for three of his four daughters for Christmas from an internet business based in Sydney.
"They'd been having a ball with them," Mr Ibraheim said.
The 'hoverboard' had been charging for 13 minutes in a back bedroom at a house in Lebanon Street when a smoke alarm was heard just before 7pm on Monday.
Ines, 14, went to investigate and found sparks flying out of 10-year-old India's 'hoverboard' and part of the bed on fire, Mr Ibraheim said.
"I went to investigate because they are sometime prone to exaggerate but then I saw the fire," Mr Ibraheim said.
He tried to get a bucket of water to douse the flames.
"But I fell onto my back, by the time I got back up and got more water, it was too late and we had to get out," he said.
Mr Ibraheim said he could not recall the product's brand.
"I made sure they were all compliant with Australian safety standards," he said.
Mr Ibraheim said instructions told consumers not to charge 'hoverboards' for more than two hours.
Ines had set an alarm for 40 minutes to remind her to check the toy on the charger.
"It was only on for 13 minutes," Mr Ibraheim said.
Metropolitan Fire Brigade Western Zone Commander Guy McCrorie said Ines had closed the door when she discovered the fire.
"When she realised there was a fire, she closed the door and got out out of there. I suppose she was being a kid and thinking it might go away," Commander Guy McCrorie said.
Commander McCrorie said the damage was estimated at $500,000 and the house was a "pushover job" beyond repair.
Mr Ibraheim, a single dad, said he did not think the house's contents were insured because he had bought a block of land and was planning to begin building in February.
The house's Singaporean owner inspected the damage on Tuesday with Mr Ibraheim.
MFB acting Commander for Western Zone, Phil Smith described the house fire as sad for the family.
"It was one of those 'hoverboards' that are all the rage at the moment and the family had a couple of them," acting Commander Smith said.
"The house is a mess, it's very sad."
Acting Commander Smith said anything that took an electrical current had the potential for fire but this was the first 'hoverboard' fire he had attended.
The family was not injured in the fire and have found alternative accommodation.
It took 25 firefighters 30 minutes to bring the fire under control.
"Given what's happened, people have to be aware there is a potential for fire risk when you are charging an electrical product," acting Commander Smith said.
"It was in a kid's bedroom, down the back of the house, where no one is able to supervise it.
"I would suggest that if a person has one of these devices, it needs to be supervised while charging."
In December the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission recalled five 'hoverboards'. These include the Moonwalker, a two-wheel scooter by Hunter Sports because it was sold with a non-compliant battery charger and cord.
The ACCC also issued a warning, saying faulty designs had caused fires overseas and users could be injured in falls.
The ACCC called for consumers to check all electrical products complied to Australian standards.
All compliant products are marked with the Australian regulatory compliance symbol or RCM – a tick surrounded by a triangle.
ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard said consumers should always use the approved battery charger that came with the product.
Signs of damage near the battery need to be checked by a professional, she said.
Actor Russell Crowe complained through Twitter his children's 'hoverboards' were not allowed onto a Virgin flight.
Virgin replied that that "due to safety concerns over the lithium ion batteries in hoverboards, these have been banned on all major ... Australian airlines and many around the world".
In the United States, there have reports of 'hoverboards' catching fire, including one in a shopping mall.
Amazon has also begun questioning 'hoverboard' makers about their safety standards.