HARRISBURG, Pa. – Firefighters from two central Pennsylvania fire departments are teaming up with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to urge the public to turn in a specific brand of hoverboard that has been blamed for two major fires in the area.
The LayZ Board had already been linked to a devastating fire in March that killed two children and resulted in the death of a Harrisburg firefighter as he went to respond to the scene.
On Friday, the LayZ Board was also blamed for a similar fire earlier this week that started at a townhouse in Manchester Borough, York County, that displaced more than a dozen people and damaged four townhouses.
The board’s battery was the source of both fires, officials said.
The resulting investigation revealed that a shipment of about 3,000 LayZ Boards were imported into the U.S. by a company in Shenzhen, China. About 300 boards were sold in this area, according to Harrisburg Bureau of Fire Chief Brian Enterline.
The two boards that caused the fires were sold on the OrderUp and LetGo e-commerce platforms, he said.
“Just out of curiosity this morning, as we were preparing for the press conference, we looked at OfferUp and LetGo to see how many hoverboards are out there,” Enterline said. “32 were locally available on OfferUp and four were available on LetGo.”
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has already recalled more than 500,000 hoverboards, but it only issued a safety notice on LayZ Boards because they are unable to issue a recall notice on them.
“The business that brought these in is no longer in business,” said Randy Poth of the CPSC. “There’s no one there to replace the board, fix the board or give your money back.”
Firefighters also spoke out Friday at the State Capitol in the hopes state leaders would hear their calls to review the state’s residential building codes.
Changes made under the Corbett administration in 2011 meant that fire sprinklers are not longer mandatory in new construction, officials said.
“It’s either a $30,000 room of contents or a complete $300,000 rebuild,” said Pennsylvania Fire Commissioner Tim Solobay. “In most cases, folks do get out in time, but we know that isn’t always the case.”
Firefighters who responded to the Manchester Borough fire early Monday contend fire sprinklers would have limited the damage caused by the blaze, but also noted how quickly the fire spread, just like the one in Harrisburg last March.
“Had that fire volume been any less, we would’ve probably had firefighters enter that building and attempt to extinguish that fire,” Chief Joe Stevens, of Union Fire Company #1, said. “With the heavy volume of fire, we didn’t and thankfully so, as we would have sustained heavy injuries or loss of life.”
If you are in possession of a LayZ Board, firefighters urge you to take it to any Harrisburg fire station of the Union Fire Company in York County, so that they can dispose of it properly.
Firefighters are hoping to identify partners that will help them exchange the hoverboards for a safer riding toy like a scooter that children can also enjoy, Enterline said.