Hoverboard fire leads to evacuation at Deerbrook Mall

A hoverboard caught fire at Deerbrook Mall Monday afternoon.

HUMBLE, Texas -- If you are interested in buying one of those much talked about hoverboards, you won't find them at the Deerbrook Mall.

They've all been removed after one of them caught fire while still sitting in a box.

KHOU 11 News made calls to malls in and around Houston, and so far haven't heard that any of them are changing their policy about selling these toys but that might change after what happened Monday.

"It just sounded like a small explosion sounded like a bomb honestly," said Marie Golan, who was at the mall with her friend Lexi Smiertka when they heard those explosions.

"We saw a whole bunch of smoke and instead of running away we kind of went towards it," Smiertka said.

Raw: Hoverboard catches fire at Deerbrook Mall

They snapped photographs of a hoverboard and someone trying to put out the flames with a fire extinguisher.

"It was nerve-wracking, I mean the emergency broadcast went off," Smiertka 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 Humble Fire Department told KHOU 11 News that the hoverboard was in the box when it exploded on the lower level of the mall. The mall was evacuated briefly while firefighters dealt with the incident.

"It wasn't a calm experience, but there were definitely a lot more people concerned that didn't see what was happening," Smiertka added.

Over the weekend the Consumer Product Safety Commission said it is looking into at least 22 hoverboard fires in 17 states thus far.
Federal agencies believe lithium ion batteries are to blame.

"I thought it was a box of fireworks," Golan said.

It's unclear what brand of hoverboard exploded Monday.

Safety officials suggest not buying this product at a location like a mall kiosk or a website that doesn't have information about who's selling the product and how they can be contacted if there's a problem.​

Deerbrook Mall officials said in a statement:

"This afternoon there was an incident with a hoverboard that resulted in a small fire. As a precaution, Humble (Fire Department) was called in. The fire was quickly extinguished. There were no injures or damage to property. The mall is open for business."

A family in northwest Harris County was victim to a hoverboard fire in early December. Kole Boucher said he won a hoverboard at a church raffle and days after he brought it home, the board caught fire. No one was injured.

More: Family thankful no one injured after hoverboard explodes

Due to the recent reports of hoverboard fires across the U.S., Southwest Airlines announced on its website that as of Dec. 12, the airline won't allow passengers to transport hoverboards on its airplanes.

"We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause," Southwest officials said in a statement. "But the safety of our customers and employees must come first."


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