Family's home destroyed in Melbourne after hoverboard sparks blaze

Michael Felgate

A hoverboard that was being charged in a child's bedroom has caught fire and destroyed a family's home in Melbourne's north west.

A father and his four daughters had to run for their lives, as flames engulfed the home within minutes.

The incident has prompted fresh concerns about the safety of the popular Christmas gift.

The Ibraheim's home in Melbourne's north west was gutted by the fire. Photo: 7 News
The Ibraheim's home in Melbourne's north west was gutted by the fire. Photo: 7 News

Ines Ibraheim, 14, discovered the fire in her sister's bedroom.

“I couldn't breathe, I was really scared,” she said.

“I didn't know what to do, I was just running around the house screaming.”

Her father, Ash, tried to put the blaze out with buckets of water but, “in the panic of it all”, he said he slipped and fell on his back.

Ines Ibraheim,14, was staying close to her father after they had a lucky escape from the blaze that destroyed their home.
Ines Ibraheim,14, was staying close to her father after they had a lucky escape from the blaze that destroyed their home.

“By the time I came to stand up there was an explosion and I just sort of scrambled and ran out,” said Mr Ibraheim.

Investigators found the fire was caused by a hoverboard charging in a bedroom, just before 6pm on Monday evening.

“The batteries have exploded, the insides have been spewed out and then the actual device would have caught fire,” said fire investigator, Rod East.

With four girls aged 8 to 14 and their dad living in the house, it was luck that no lives were lost.

“It sort of scares me to think that if it was at night time and the kids were in bed and this thing was actually plugged in, the fire could well have resulted in a number of lives,” said Act. Commander Phil Smith from the Metropolitan Fire Brigade.

Fire investigators said the hoverboard batteries exploded, sparking a fire that destroyed the Ibraheim's home. Photo: 7 News
Fire investigators said the hoverboard batteries exploded, sparking a fire that destroyed the Ibraheim's home. Photo: 7 News

It took just six or seven minutes for the entire home to catch alight – and then it took 25 firefighters almost an hour to bring the blaze under control.

The house is totally devastated.

“My immediate investigation shows it is not an approved charger so it's possibly not compliant and shouldn't be offered for sale, so we will be looking at a recall,” said Neil Fraser from Energy Safety Victoria.

Purchased in Sydney, the family thought the hoverboard was up to Australian safety standards.

With 10,000 in Australia, regulators said if they do not have the approved compliance mark they could be a ticking time-bomb.

This is the compliance mark consumers should look out for if they are buying a hoverboard.
This is the compliance mark consumers should look out for if they are buying a hoverboard.

“For me personally, I probably wouldn't let the kids have them,” said Mr East.

Ash Ibraheim was certainly on board with that sentiment: “No more hoverboards, no more hoverboards,” he said.