HOUSTON, Dec. 29 (UPI) — A portion of a Houston mall was evacuated when a hoverboard exploded with a force some shoppers initially confused for a bomb.
The Deerbrook Mall confirmed a hoverboard at a kiosk in the mall exploded and caught fire.
“We heard what we thought was a bomb,” shopper Amanda Rucka told KTRK-TV of the incident that took place about 3 p.m. Monday. “We ran out to see, of course, to see what it was and it was actually a hoverboard that caught on fire and it was the batteries that were blowing up, not a bomb.”
Video captured at the scene shows a worker at a nearby store putting out the flames with a fire extinguisher.
The area of the mall around the kiosk was evacuated for about an hour while the thick smoke dissipated.
“This afternoon there was an incident with a hoverboard at Deerbrook Mall, which resulted in a small fire that was quickly contained. As a precaution, the Humble Fire Department responded. Thankfully, there were no injuries or property damage and Deerbrook Mall remains open at this time,” the mall said in a statement.
Fire officials told the New York Daily News the hoverboard had been returned by a customer for failing to hold a charge and exploded while a worker was attempting to charge it.
Officials said they have not yet decided whether the hoverboard kiosk will be closed permanently.
Kristi Menard said her 13-year-old son, Bryson, used $400 of his Christmas money to buy one of the self-balancing scooters from the Xcel Toys and Boards kiosk Dec. 26. She said the device appeared to be prone to malfunction and she attempted to return it after the explosion at Deerbrook Mall, but the seller wasn’t at the mall Monday evening and did not return her calls.
“They’re completely gone, can’t get in touch with them anymore,” she told KPRC-TV.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission said during the weekend it is looking into at least 22 hoverboard fires in 17 states, including at least one other device that exploded while at a mall kiosk.
Federal investigators said the lithium ion batteries in the devices might be the reason for the explosions and fires.