Officials warn of hoverboards that caused York Co., Harrisburg fires
Investigators suspect a hoverboard might have started the blaze.
Fire officials in Harrisburg and York County came together to warn people about a specific brand of hoverboard that has caused two major fires this year.
Union Fire Co. Chief Joe Stevens said the LayZ brand of hoverboards caused a fatal fire in Harrisburg, and more recently, a massive fire in Manchester borough.
“Some 3,000 of those were made, and they were distributed in the Harrisburg area," he said.
Stevens and Harrisburg Fire Chief Brian Enterline held a news conference Friday, Oct. 27, in Harrisburg, to warn about the hoverboards.
"We have a strong sense that there are a lot of (the hoverboards) locally," Stevens said after the conference.
Hoverboard: Stevens said a LayZ brand hoverboard caused a fire at a townhome in the 200 block of Royal Drive Monday, Oct. 23.
The hoverboard shorted out while it was charging and caused a fire that destroyed the home in a matter of minutes. The fire damaged four other homes.
That same brand of hoverboard caused a fire that killed two girls, ages 3 and 10, in Harrisburg in March.
Harrisburg career firefighter Lt. Dennis DeVoe, 42, of Stewartstown, died in a car crash as he was driving to the scene.
Stevens said the manufacturer of the hoverboards is out of business.
“(There's) nobody to do any warranty work or repair to it … it’s just a dangerous item,” he said.
The chief said the batteries in the hoverboards are not designed for it, and the boards can short out, which causes the fires.
“There’s not a lot of quality control on them,” he said.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the hoverboards were manufactured in Shenzen, China, and were imported to the United States.
The CSPC urged owners to take the boards to a recycling center for safe disposal.
Effort: On Friday the two chiefs asked people to dispose of the potentially harmful hoverboards.
Stevens said Enterline had called him shortly after Monday's fire.
"He was immediately struck because it was a hoverboard," Stevens said.
He said the two fires were "eerily similar."
So the two came together to speak on the danger of the LayZ brand of hoverboards and try to get people to get rid of them.
“It’s a grassroots effort to bring awareness,” he said.
Stevens said anyone looking to dispose of their hoverboards may take them to the Union Fire station or any Harrisburg fire station and officials will take care of getting rid of it.
Fire: During Monday's fire, the hoverboard shorted and set the townhouse on fire. The building collapsed within 20 minutes, but everyone inside made it out. There were no injuries, and no pets were injured either, according to Stevens.
At the time, the 12-year-old girl, a resident in the home, noticed the hoverboard sparking, and the people inside the home were able to get out in time, Stevens said.
Had she not noticed the sparking, things could have been worse.
“That easily could have been a multiple fatality fire," Stevens said.
The chief said the entire house was engulfed when firefighters arrived.
“That’s one of the worst residential fires that I've been on in a long time," he said.
The chief urged people to pre-plan what they should do if a fire happens.
By the time a fire happens, he said, "it's too late to figure out what you're going to do."
— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at email@example.com or on Twitter at @YDDornblaser.