BOULDER, Colo. — Hoverboards are supposed to be about fun for kids and adults. But another in a long line of hoverboards is to blame for catching fire and burning inside a Boulder apartment Monday night.
The electronic gadget exploded while charging as several University of Colorado students sat feet away playing video games. Now, those students are counting themselves lucky nobody was hurt — or worse.
CU sophomore Mohamed Almansoori cleaned up Tuesday after what looked like the aftermath of a raucous party.
“I was pretty scared. It all happened really, really fast. So there wasn’t much time to process it,” he said.
But the mess, including singed carpet with several batteries melted into it, is courtesy of an exploding hoverboard.
“I just put to charge it, and it just started sparking and exploded everywhere,” said Gabriel Rojas, who brought the electric gadget to Almansoori’s apartment at The Province on 28th Street. “The fire was just getting bigger and bigger. It popped once, like fireworks and it kept exploding more, like flames and stuff.”
The CU junior never thought it was a risk.
“I’ve been seeing it on the news and stuff. But I didn’t think it was an actual thing. I thought it was like those Chinese ones or something,” he said.
Not counting the fire at Almansoori’s place, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says it’s investigating 66 hoverboard fires across the country in the past year.
YouTube is littered with videos of the flaming hoverboards. It’s why CU has banned hoverboards from campus residence halls, why most retailers have pulled them from shelves and why the largest U.S. airlines have banned them from flights.
“The smoke was just intense. It was like chemical smoke. We had to get checked out afterwards,” Rojas said.
Both students are left to wonder why the apparently hazardous devices are sold at all.
“Like, on the hoverboard, there are no stickers that say anything,” Rojas said.
Both are grateful the only damage is to Almansoori’s carpet — and not one of them or their friends.
“Don’t charge it and leave the house. If no one was here when it caught on fire, this whole living room would probably be burned,” Almansoori said.
The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission is working to find the root cause of the fires. The agency is focusing on the components of the lithium-ion battery packs and their interaction with the circuit boards inside.