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March 30, 2023

Hoverboard model that allegedly caught fire, killing two Pennsylvania girls, recalled by manufacturer

Jetson Electric Bikes is offering refunds for about 53,000 of the self-balancing scooters. Their lithium-ion batteries are a hazard for overheating

Jetson Hoverboard Recall Fire Hazard Source/Jetson Electric Bikes

Jetson Electric Bikes has recalled about 53,000 of its 42-volt Jetson Rogue self-balancing hoverboards, which were sold between August 2018 and June 2019. The company is offering full refunds for these scooters.

The maker of the hoverboard blamed for causing a fire that killed two sisters in Pennsylvania last year has issued a recall for about 53,000 of the hoverboards, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced.

Jetson Electric Bikes says the lithium-ion batteries inside the Rogue self-balancing hoverboards can overheat and pose a fire hazard.

"CPSC and Jetson are urging consumers to immediately stop using and stop charging the recalled 42-volt version of the self-balancing scooters/hoverboards and contact Jetson for a full refund," the recall notice says.

Last April, a fire at a home in Hellertown claimed the lives of 15-year-old Briana Baer and 10-year-old Abigail Kaufman. At the time the fire broke out, the hoverboard had been charging in Abigail's second-floor bedroom.

The girls' mother escaped from the first floor. Their father, who was in a detached garage when the fire started, unsuccessfully attempted to reach the children on the second floor.

Firefighters rescued the two girls, but they later died of their injuries at St. Luke's University Hospital.

The family sued Jetson Electric Bikes and Walmart last year, claiming the companies knew about the fire hazard posed by the hoverboard, but "knowingly, purposely and consciously concealed their knowledge of these serious dangers."

The recall notice says the Hellertown Borough Fire Marshal determined that a 42-volt Jetson Rogue was the point of origin of the fire. The family's attorney, Philadelphia-based personal injury lawyer Thomas Kline, last year said other experts also concluded the hoverboard was to blame for the blaze.

"We conducted a thorough cause-and-origin investigation with multiple experts in which we carefully evaluated the evidence not only from the fire scene itself but also did an inspection of the hoverboard," Kline said. "We are convinced based on our careful and thorough investigation that the hoverboard is responsible."

Hoverboards became a popular holiday gift around the middle of the last decade. They soon were linked to an increasing number of fires in the U.S. and came under the scrutiny of consumer watchdogs and regulators, who warned that many hoverboard models failed to comply with safety standards.

CPSC is aware of more than 250 hoverboard incidents related to fires or overheating since 2015, including a 2017 fire in Harrisburg that killed a 3-year-old girl and critically injured two other people.

Nearly 501,000 hoverboards were recalled after CPSC determined lithium-ion battery packs can overheat, start fires and potentially explode. By mid-2016, retailers including Amazon, Toys R Us and Target had removed hoverboards from their stores and websites. But retailers since have begun selling a wide selection of hoverboard models, most of them ranging from $100-$300.

This is the first recall of a model made by Jetson Electric Bikes.

The recall notice says the Rogue model scooters were sold at Target stores nationwide and online from August 2018 through June 2019. They also were sold via Jetson Electric Bikes' website for $100 to $150. The family of the girls who were killed in Hellertown purchased their hoverboard at a Walmart in Quakertown.

CPSC urges all hoverboard owners not to leave charging devices unattended and to only use the charging equipment that was supplied with the product. 

People who own the recalled Jetson Electric Bikes hoverboard model can contact the company for a refund by calling (800) 635-4815 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays. The company also has a product recall website with detailed instructions about how to properly identify the hoverboard, distinguish it from other non-recalled products, and submit a form with all of the required information to obtain a refund.