by: Kevin McCarty Updated:
KENT, AUBURN, Wash. - Shoppers at the Outlet Connection Mall in Auburn were evacuated Tuesday morning after a so-called hoverboard burst into flames, sending a portion of it shooting across the floor.
The board, a two-wheeled stand-up riding board, was next to one that was being ridden by a man when Kelli Steiner saw it explode.
“For no reason, it just exploded,” said Steiner. “And not just a little fire, exploded. Like combusted, the whole thing.”
Steiner recorded the incident as employees at the kiosk where the board was on sale used fire extinguishers to douse the flames. The smoke soon triggered fire alarms, prompting a temporary evacuation of the mall. No one was hurt.
“The smoke was real bad, and it was a toxic smell,” said Steiner.
It’s not clear what company built and sold the board.
Reports of hoverboard fires have surfaced in Florida and Louisiana, where a woman blamed one of the boards for sparking a fire that destroyed her home in November.
“I just see sparks shooting like a firework,” said Jessica Horne. “Before I had time to even say it was on fire, the house was on fire.”
Timothy Cade told reporters in Florida a board burst into flames as he was riding it. “I came down the sidewalk, not even a hundred feet, and it exploded,” said Cade.
Mashable.com reports 15,000 hoverboards were seized in the United Kingdom in early December after inspections determined they were unsafe.
Some of the fires are being blamed on lithium ion batteries that may overheat if they are charged too long.