Self-balancing boards could be ticking timebombs

  • 06/01/2016
Self-balancing boards could be ticking timebombs

There are calls for motorised self-balancing scooters to be banned across the Tasman, after one started a fire that burned down a Melbourne house.

The toys, also known as hoverboards, were a popular Christmas gift, but have raised safety concerns – there have been reports of fires started by the boards worldwide, while in the UK 90 percent of those tested were found to be unsafe.

In Australia, a father and his four daughters were lucky to escape the blaze which destroyed their home, leaving authorities calling for hoverboards to be recalled.

Inas Ibraheim, 14, discovered the fire in her sister's bedroom.

"I couldn't breathe, I was really scared," she says. "I didn't know what to do – I was just running around the house screaming."

Her father tried to put the blaze out with buckets of water. In a panic he slipped and fell onto his back.

"By the time I came to stand up there was an explosion, and I just sort of scrambled and ran out," Ash Ibraheim says.

Investigators found the fire was caused by a motorised self-balancing board charging in a bedroom just before 6pm last night.

They say the batteries exploded, and then the device would have caught fire.

With four girls aged eight to 14 and their dad living in the house, it's lucky no lives were lost.

"It sort of scares me to think that if it was at night time and the kids were in bed, and this thing was actually plugged in, the fire could well have resulted in a number of lives," says Phil Smith from the Metropolitan Fire Brigade.

After being sparked by the motorised board in a rear bedroom, the entire house took just six or seven minutes to catch alight.

The house was totally devastated and it took 25 firefighters almost an hour to bring the blaze under control.

Purchased in Sydney, the family thought the boards were up to Australian safety standards.

With 10,000 of the boards in Australia, regulators say if they don't have the compliance mark, they could be a ticking timebomb.

Watch the video for the full Channel 7 report.