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Feds open probe over popular "hoverboard" fires

Feds open probe over popular "hoverboard" fires

By Lydia Wheeler for The Hill

The federal government has launched an investigation into one of the year’s hottest holiday toys after receiving multiple reports of it catching fire and causing injury.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is warning consumers to beware of hoverboards. The agency said it’s received 10 reports of hoverboards catching fire from consumers in nine states and 29 reports of people having been treated at an emergency room after falling off the self-balancing, two-wheel, motorized board.

Of the 29 emergency room visits, CPSC Spokeswoman Patty Davis said 13 were for fractures, six were for strains or sprains, four were for contusions or abrasions, two for lacerations, one for a closed head injury and three for an injury to an ankle, wrist or shoulder.

The three largest U.S. airlines — Delta, United and American — have banned hoverboards from all flights over concerns that the lithium ion batteries used to power them could potentially spark a fire on board.

Davis said CPSC is investigating whether the batteries are to blame for the fires and in the meantime hopes the industry steps forward and establishes safety standards for the product.

“The need is evident with all the fires we’ve seen,” she said.

When asked if CPSC would step in and create safety regulations if the industry fails to act, Davis said she could not speculate.

“They way our process works is we have to allow the voluntary standards process to work first before we get involved,” she said.

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