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article imageGirl, four, dies in fire — recharging hoverboard the likely cause

By Arthur Weinreb     Mar 13, 2017 in Technology
Harrisburg - A four-year-old girl is dead and others in the home were injured after a fire blamed on a recharging hoverboard broke out. Hoverboards had previously been found to constitute fire risks. A firefighter also lost his life while responding to the scene.
A fire broke out in a Harrisburg, Pennsylvania home around 8 p.m. Friday. The first floor of the home quickly became engulfed in flames and Ashanti Hughes, four, suffered burns to 95 percent of her body. The little girl died the next morning at the Lehigh Valley Hospital Burn Center.
Two other girls in the home at the time
were also taken to Lehigh Valley Hospital where they remain in critical condition. A male and a teenage boy were also taken to hospital where they were treated for smoke inhalation and later released.
According to Fire Chief Brian Enterline, a hoverboard was plugged into an electrical outlet and was charged. Family members reported they heard sizzling and crackling noises before the hoverboard broke into flames.
Hoverboards deemed unsafe last year
As Mashable reported, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) concluded a lengthy study of hoverboards in February 2016. The CPSC found no hoverboard then on the market was safe and asked all hoverboards be taken off the market until they could be deemed to be safe.
New safety standards were sent out to manufacturers, retailers and importers. They were told if these new guidelines were not followed, they would be subject to enforcement action and seizure of their products. The manufacturers, retailers and importers were also warned they could face civil and criminal penalties if the new standards were adhered to.
The hoverboards were then found to be unsafe because of the tendency for them to ignite and burn. The CPSC received reports of 52 hoverboard fires between December 2015 and February 2017. Although there were no reports of deaths or injuries, the fires caused more than $2 million in damage to property. The media had also reported two dogs died in a California fire and three children just managed to escape their burning home in the U.K.
SEE ALSO: Over 500T hoverboards recalled in U.S. over battery fire risks
Firefighter killed on way to scene of fire
Ashanti was not the only one who died as a result of the fire. Veteran firefighter Lt. Dennis DeVoe was at a colleague’s funeral Friday evening when he received a call about the fire. DeVoe then left for the fire station to get his equipment and his vehicle was struck by a teenage driver who is alleged to have stolen the car she was driving. She is also alleged to have fled the scene of the collision.
Saturday night, Enterline announced the 21-year member of the fire department had succumbed to his injuries. The fire chief described DeVoe as “a leader in our department and the fire service as a whole.”
The alleged driver of the other vehicle, 19-year-old Khanyae Kendall, was arrested when she turned up at a hospital to receive treatment. The teen faces charges of DUI, receiving stolen property, aggravated assault with a vehicle and making false reports to law enforcement.
An investigation into the fire is continuing.
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