A three-year-old has died after a hoverboard caught fire in her home.
Ashanti Hughes died at a Pennsylvania hospital on Saturday after the hoverboard in her house caught fire and her house was set ablaze, the toddler’s family and local officials confirmed to the Associated Press on Sunday. Hughes’ father and a male teenager were treated for smoke inhalation and released from the hospital. Two other girls who were also in the home during the fire are currently in critical condition.
Fire lieutenant Dennis DeVoe was responding to the incident when his car was struck by a driver and killed. The driver, who was not named, is being charged with aggravated assault, among other counts, according to the Associated Press report, which was earlier obtained by the Washington Post.
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Hoverboards, or self-driving scooters, were all the rage during the 2015 holiday shopping season. However, owners soon reported that their hoverboards were catching fire. Retailers around the world ultimately removed hoverboards from store shelves and they were banned on flights. The problem appeared to have been in the batteries that power the two-wheeled hoverboards. Hoverboard popularity also prompted several copycat companies from releasing their own devices that ultimately proved less safe.
Hoverboards were cited for causing two homes to burn up. The Hughes incident was the first in the U.S. to cause a fatality.
Hoverboards have since been re-released after companies reported that their devices were safe. It’s unknown whether the Hughes incident was caused by a previously recalled hoverboard or a new device that might still be available for purchase. The company that made the hoverboard that caught fire in Hughes’ home has not been released.
According to Fire Chief Brian Enterline, who spoke to the Associated Press, the hoverboard was plugged in on the first floor, when the Hughes family heard “sizzling and crackling.” It then “exploded in flames,” Enterline said. One family member was forced to jump from the second floor to escape the blaze.
“My granddaughter, I can’t replace her,” the child’s grandfather Mark Hughes told local news outlet FOX43 in an interview. “The pain is so deep. I’m so hurt. My soul is hurt.”