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Family warning others after battery in child’s toy explodes while charging

HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. -- A mother has a warning for all parents, after she says the lithium battery in her child’s toy exploded while it was charging.

Austin Harnish has a need for speed.

“They are fun – and they’re pretty fast too,” Harnish said.

The 12-year-old isn’t quite old enough to drive, so he gets his thrills by racing his Taxxas RC Truck all over the neighborhood.

“Sits just like that and you plug in right there,” Harnish said.

But on Saturday afternoon, the battery for this seemingly harmless toy burst into flames.

“I came up the stairs and our whole second floor was full of smoke and there were flames shooting out of his bedroom,” Austin’s mother, Melanie Harnish, said. “I completely panicked. I ran down the stairs as fast as I could screaming fire.”

Austin was playing at a near-by park. His mother, sprang into action and grabbed the fire extinguisher.

“My hands, they were shaking so bad I couldn’t pull the pin out,” Melanie said.

Her husband, Jeff, yanked the cord of the charger out of the wall and emptied the fire extinguisher. Neighbors helped call 911 and firefighters rushed into the home.

“Thankfully we were home,” Melanie said.

“If we weren’t home it’d be a way different story,” Jeff Harnish said.

The Harnish family wants to see more accountability on the manufacturer of the Dynamite Prophet Sports Duo Charger.

“There needs to be a way more serious warning on these. Maybe don’t even sell them to anyone under 18. They need to understand you can lose a home,” Melanie Harnish said.

The FOX31 Problem Solvers contacted the company, Horizon Hobby, by phone and email, but have not received a response back. However, the instructional manual for the charger states that it is not intended for children under 14. It also says, never leave charging batteries unattended.

As the Harnish family continues to clean up the damage from their close-call, they hope other families will take extra precautions while charging toys.

“If he had been charging it when he was laying in his bed or at night or we forgot about it and left our house – we could have lost everything,” Melanie said.

The family had smoke alarms on every level of their home that helped alert them to get out and call 911.

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