Fire sparked by batteries in Christmas present sends 1 to hospital

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LONE TREE, Colo. -- A holiday warning about fire danger and the batteries found in more and more hi-tech toys this season.

An overnight house fire in Lone Tree sparked by lithium polymer batteries, which were for a Christmas present and the giver suffered burns to his hands and feet and remains in the hospital.

And fire investigators say it could have been much worse.

You've likely heard hover board batteries spontaneously burst into flames and are now banned on airplanes, but you probably haven’t heard about other stuff you'll put under the tree for kids this year; stuff like remote controlled cars, drones and other high tech devices using "lithium polymer" batteries.

"There's just an influx of those toys so that's probably why we're seeing an increase in fires,” said Becky O'Guin, with South Metro Fire Rescue.

South Metro Fire says they never had any of these types of fires last year and have already responded to three this year, one where a family pet was killed.

The homeowner told us off camera his nephew was charging a remote control car battery when he awoke to flames in the basement.

The nephew was hospitalized with smoke inhalation and burns to his hands and feet.

The batteries burn at extremely high temperature, spread to anything around them quickly and are very difficult to extinguish before burning themselves out.

"We've been fortunate so far that we haven't lost any lives, people need to be careful using these batteries,” said O’Guin, “Don't charge them when you're sleeping; Don't charge them when you're not at home.”

Just a few weeks ago, South Metro gave a demonstration to warn of the danger.

“After this last one, we really realized that we need to get the word out about safely using these batteries,” said O’Guin.

The batteries are labeled with a long list of warnings to prevent fire and it’s clear that the results this holiday could be tragic if you don’t read the fine print.

“It's usually because the user didn't so some specific step along the way -- they either discharged the battery all the way and then charged it, or they charged it while it was hot,” said O’Guin.

Younger children should not be allowed to handle these batteries especially while charging.

The homeowner from last night says he thinks they are very dangerous and should not be sold until the technology is improved.

So if you're giving something that uses these batteries as a gift, make sure that everyone follows those safety instructions.

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