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Calls for nation-wide ban on hoverboards after Melbourne house fire



Hoverboards, also known as gliders or modboards, were a popular Christmas present in Australia in 2015. However there are now calls for a permanent, Australia wide ban on the boards after a Melbourne house was burned down due a battery explosion which occurred while a hoverboard was charging.

The occupant of the house, Ash Ibraheim, managed to evacuate his home along with his 4 daughters and pets after he attempted to extinguish the fire with a bucket of water. The hoverboard had only been plugged in and charging for around 10 minutes before the battery exploded, triggering a fire within the device which then spread throughout the home. Similar incidents have also been reported recently across the United States and Europe.

In the case of Mr Ibraheim’s hoverboard, it was determined by Energy Safe Victoria that the hoverboard did not comply with national safety standards. The board was unmarked and purchased from a NSW distributor. Consumers are being urged to check the hoverboards they have purchased for the Australian Regulatory Compliance Mark, a tick surrounded by a triangle. In addition, a squad of investigators in Victoria are visiting stores to ensure no-one is selling any products on the recall list (currently there are 7 boards being recalled). Individuals and businesses selling the non-compliant boards face fines of $4,000 and $20,000 respectively.

Victoria’s consumer affairs minister Jane Garrett recently wrote to her federal counterpart, Kelly O’Dwyer, outlining the dangers of hoverboards and asking her to consider a nation-wide ban. “Hoverboards have not only caused fires from faulty design; in addition there is significant risk of user injuries through falls…” Jane Garrett explains in the letter.

The federal government has responded with a spokeswoman stated that the ACCC will investigate the safety of hoverboards and similar products but the Melbourne house fire was a matter for the Victorian state government. "Electrical safety is managed under state and territory laws. These products should comply with state electrical safety standards and display compliance marks, and be used, stored and charged carefully,” federal government spokeswoman.

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