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NJ Officials Warn Of Potential Dangers Associated With Motorized Boards

NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) -- Officials in New Jersey are warning consumers about potential dangers associated with motorized, self-balancing, two-wheel scooters.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has said it has received dozens of reports of injuries related to the devices across the country and that agents are actively investigating fires caused by the boards while in use or while charging.

"While there is no conclusive evidence that hoverboards are defective or inherently unsafe, we want consumers to be aware of the potential dangers and take precautions to keep themselves and their children safe," Steve Lee, Acting Director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, said in a statement. "We will monitor the CPSC investigation and keep consumers updated on any findings."

Two of the reported fires associated with the devices happened in New Jersey.

The most recent happened Sunday night when Lanoka Harbor firefighters said they responded to a call about a board catching fire. The fire department published two photos on Facebook showing the charred board and surrounding carpet.

Hoverboard Fire New Jerse
(Credit: Lanoka Harbor Fire Department)

Lt. Chris Bruno said the device caught fire while charging and no one was injured.

There have also been cases of board fires in New York.

The FDNY posted a picture to Twitter on Wednesday of a board they said caught fire in a Brooklyn apartment.

There was also a report of a house fire being blamed on a board in Westchester County.

Another New York man also told CBS2 earlier this month that his board burst into flames while he was riding it.

The three largest U.S. airlines have also banned them because of potential fire danger from the lithium-ion batteries that power the devices.

Delta Airlines made the announcement banning the boards in early December, after a consumer alert was issued for the hugely popular motorized scooters.

The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs says CPSC engineers are testing new and damaged boards to determine why some models catch fire and are looking closely at the configuration of battery packs and chargers.

Lee also reminded consumers to protect themselves against falling while using the popular item.

On social media, the hashtag #HoverboardFails has gone viral, with many users posting pictures and video of their own mishaps with the motorized scooters.

"As with any scooter, skateboard, or wheeled toy, it's important to wear a proper helmet and protective padding while riding a hoverboard to avoid serious injury," Lee said.

To reduce risks associated with the boards, officials offered the following tips:

- Avoid buying the product at a location or on a website that does not have information about who is selling the product and how they can be contacted if there is a problem.
- Don't charge a board overnight or when you are not able to watch it.
- Charge and store in an open dry area away from items that can catch fire.
- Do not charge directly after riding. Let the device cool for an hour before charging.
- If giving a board as a gift, leave it in its partially charged state. Do not take it out of the package to bring it to a full charge and then wrap it back up. Often, the product comes partially charged. Leave it in that state until it is ready to be used.
- Look for the mark of a certified national testing laboratory. While this does not rule out counterfeits, the absence of such a mark means your safety is likely not a priority for that manufacturer.
- Do not ride the device near any vehicular traffic.

Incidents involving the devices can be reported to

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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