Parents are taking a closer look at popular toddler light-up shoes after one Katy family's terrifying experience over the weekend.
"As soon as we opened up the car door, we could smell the burning plastic," Jovan Virag said Sunday.
The backseat of the Virag's car caught fire. The family believes their son Warren's favorite "Jake and the Never Land Pirates" light-up shoes and the lithium battery that powers them are to blame.
"I'm just glad that my son wasn't wearing them at the time," said Virag. "I don't know if he could have told me his foot was hot, and I don't think he could have taken it off by himself."
The Harris County Fire Marshal's office is still investigating. An exact cause is not final yet, but the shoe remains a possible cause. The family says investigators came by the house again Monday to take more photos of the sizzled shoe.
"We won't buy them anymore, that's for sure," said Warren's father, Attila Virag.
KHOU reporter Marcelino Benito bought a pair of the same shoes today at a local Payless store and took them to a fire investigator to get his take on the potential danger.
"Even though it's a small battery, it still has enough energy to create a fire," said Cam Cope, President t of Auto Fire and Safety Consultants. He says the shoes can literally light up.
"They're not high quality," said Cope. "They're made in China. In China, the wiring is very, very small. The smaller the wire, the more potential problems you'll have with wires and fires."
Cope says the more the shoes are used and worn, the more likely they could cause issues. Never leave them in a car he suggests, and he recommends parents check the shoes often.
"Sometimes the child may not notice the heat in them," said Cope. "If you put your fingers in them you can sometimes feel the heat is there. It will heat up for some time before it ignites."
Payless provided the following statement Monday:
First and foremost, safety is always a top priority at Payless and we take the claim made by the customer seriously. We have contacted the family, and we will work with them and local authorities to better understand the circumstances of the car fire and what may have caused it.