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Pennsylvania toddler becomes first U.S. death from hoverboard fire

Hoverboard fire death
Toddler killed after hoverboard catches fire 01:48

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- When a raging fire tore through a Pennsylvania home Friday night, several children could not get out.

The fire killed two-year-old Ashanti Hughes and seriously injured two others. The surviving children told officials the blaze was started by a hoverboard plugged into an outlet.

Ashanti Hughes Hughes family

“They heard some sizzling and crackling in the hoverboard, and shortly thereafter it exploded in flames,” said Harrisburg fire chief Brian Enterline.

Lieutenant Dennis Devoe, a 21-year veteran of the fire department, was killed in a traffic accident while responding to the fire.

A makeshift memorial outside of the home CBS News

Last year, the Consumer Product Safety Commission recalled more than 500,000 hoverboards made by eight different manufacturers. In some cases, the lithium batteries can overheat or catch fire.

Shaka Crawford CBS News

Since 2015, the commission has investigated more than 60 fires caused by malfunctioning hoverboards.

Shaka Crawford was greeted with a warm hug from a neighbor as she stood outside of her fire-ravaged home; A small memorial is growing there in memory of her two-year-old granddaughter.

She had a stern warning for anyone who has a hoverboard in their home.

“Get rid of them, get rid of them,” Crawford said.

The family told CBS News that the two girls who are in the hospital are expected to be released Monday night.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission says that it’s not too late for owners of a hoverboard on their recall list to get a refund if they are turned in.

EDITOR’S NOTE: A graphic in the introduction to the broadcast version of this story mistakenly displayed the name, logo and tag-line of a company called Hoverboard Technologies.  That company was not the manufacturer of the board that caused the fire, and has no connection to this tragic incident.  Fire investigators tell us the device in question was a two wheeler, a distinctly different product from those of Hoverboard Technologies, which makes and sells only a unique one wheeled electric skateboard.  Hoverboard Technologies helped develop the UL-2272 safety standard for “Personal E-Mobility Devices”, and its products have not been the subject of any safety recall.  We regret the error.

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