Child okay after hoverboard catches fire in parking lot

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HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — No one was injured after a hoverboard caught fire in the parking lot of an apartment complex in Henrico County Wednesday evening.

The incident occurred in the 9200 block of Bethania Court off Laurel Drive. According to Henrico Fire Captain Danny Rosenbaum, a child was riding the hoverboard when he fell off and noticed it was smoking. He went inside to seek help, and when he and his mother returned, the smoke had increased. When fire officials arrived on scene, the board was on fire.

Crews were able to extinguish the fire quickly and prevent any damage to surrounding vehicles.

Form December 1, 2015, through February 17 of this year, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) said they received reports from consumers in 24 states of 52 self-balancing scooter fires. The fires resulted in more than $2 million in property damage, including the destruction of two homes and an automobile, according to the CPSC.

Hoverboards, which are made by several brands, already have been banned by the three largest U.S. airlines, citing potential fire danger from the lithium-ion batteries that power them.

The devices also are prohibited on New York City streets, and a new law in California requires riders to be at least 16 and wear a helmet in public.

In addition, more than 30 universities have banned or restricted hoverboards on their campuses, saying the two-wheeled motorized scooters are unsafe.

"These things are just catching fire without warning, and we don't want that in any of our dorms," said Len Dolan, managing director of fire safety at Kean University in Union, New Jersey.