Hoverboard Catches Fire At Texas Mall, Federal Safety Officials Record 22 Explosions In 17 States

Screen Shot 2015-12-29 at 10.07.33 AMEven as the holidays wind down, so-called “hoverboards” continue to be a hot ticket at retailers and shopping malls around the country. One such busy mall happened to be in Texas where a self-balancing scooter caught fire, marking it just one of dozens of fires reported to federal safety officials in recent months. 

KHOU reports [warning: link has video that autoplays] that smoke filled part of the Deerbrook Mall on Monday after a hoverboard caught fire at the kiosk selling the devices.

Local police say that staff at the mall used a fire extinguisher to put out the small blaze before firefighters arrived.

The mall was evacuated briefly, but no injuries were reported.

“This afternoon there was an incident with a hoverboard that resulted in a small fire,” mall officials said in a statement. “As a precaution, Humble (Fire Department) was called in. The fire was quickly extinguished. The mall is open for business.”

Unlike other hoverboard explosions that occurred while the device was plugged in to charge, KHOU reports that the scooter at Deerbrook Mall was still sitting in the box.

“It just sounded like a small explosion sounded like a bomb honestly,” a woman shopping with a friend at the mall said.

“It was nerve-wracking, I mean the emergency broadcast went off,” another shopper said. “You could see people who were in the opposite end who were running out, but they obviously thought it was something so serious they were holding their children.”

The incident in Texas is just the latest in a string of issues for the popular self-balancing scooters.

On Monday, the Consumer Product Safety Commission announced it had received at least 22 reports of fires in 17 states, as well as 70 ER-treated injuries.

The agency expects to receive more reports via safer products.gov in coming days and weeks.

CPSC chairman Elliot Kaye issued a statement on hoverboards shortly before the holidays, saying that investigators with the agency were working “non-stop” to find the root cause for the fire hazards linked to the devices. So far, they believe lithium batteries could be the source of issues.

“The challenge is to move quickly but also thoroughly and carefully to find out why certain hoverboards caught fire,” Kaye said in a statement. “Every consumer who is riding a hoverboard, who purchased one to give as a gift during the holidays, or who is thinking about buying one deserves to know if there is a safety defect.”

Safety concerns related to the gadgets began popping up last month when a Louisiana family says the not-actually-a-hoverboard caused a fire that burned down their home. A similar incident was reported in New Jersey on Monday.

Shortly after that episode, retailers, including Amazon and Target, began pulling the self-balancing scooters until manufacturers could provide proof of safety standard requirements.

Hoverboard fire leads to evacuation at Deerbrook Mall [KHOU]