Poland family warns of hoverboard dangers

Lisa Havlin says the charger for her son's MonoRover went up in smoke on Wednesday. The Havlins are one of several families who have reported similar incidents.


POLAND, Ohio (WKBN) – At 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Lisa Havlin was in the laundry room of her Poland home in Tuscany Estates when her daughter started screaming.

“I could see the smoke from here,” Havlin said. “It was billowing up… It was just like a smoke bomb.”

The smoke was coming from the charger of her son’s MonoRover, a brand of hoverboard.  Lisa Havlin was concerned the chair would catch fire, so her daughter’s boyfriend made a decision.

“It was not plugged into the MonoRover. It was only plugged into the wall,” she said. “So he grabbed the plug out of the wall, and opened the door, and threw it outside.”

The Havlins are one of several families who say they have experienced a dangerous situation involving the toys.

There have been a string of incidents lately involving fires and hoverboards, the two-wheel, self-balancing scooters that many teenagers want for Christmas.

One of the most recent was Tuesday at a mall near Seattle.  A hoverboard caught fire next to a kiosk selling them.

In North Carolina, another woman said her home was burned to the ground after her hoverboard caught fire.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is investigating at least ten reports of hoverboard fires, some of which were captured on video. Spokeswoman Patty Davis called it a high-priority investigation because of the scooter’s sudden popularity.

In the meantime, the three largest U.S. airlines, Delta Air Lines, American Airlines and United Airlines, said Thursday that they are banning hoverboards in any luggage due to the potential fire danger from the lithium-ion batteries that power the devices. JetBlue Airways has already prohibited them.

Lisa’s son, 14-year-old Nick Havlin, saved the $600 to buy the MonoRover that he purchased in July. He said he charges it every day, sometimes for as long as 12 hours. He added that there is nothing in the instruction manual about overcharging.

“It just says to reach a max charge is just two and a half hours, but it doesn’t say take it off at this point, or like, there’s no warnings about anything that could happen,” he said.

Lisa Havlin said she wanted to warn other parents who may be considering purchasing a MonoRover or hoverboard as a gift this holiday season.

“I wanted people to know that they really do have a problem and to just rethink getting one for Christmas,” she said.

No marks were left around the outlet, and the Havlin house is okay.  The only thing destroyed was the charger; it is fried.

Nick emailed MonoRover, and the company responded with an apology. They also requested that he return the board and charger, so the pieces can be examined. MonoRover promised to send him a new one, but Lisa is still not sure if she’s going to let him use it.

“I’m debating whether to get it, because if this happens again, it’s too dangerous, I think,” she said.

WKBN reached out to the company as well and didn’t receive a response.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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