The Louisiana Fire Marshal's Office is joining the National Association of State Fire Marshals (NASFM) in warning consumers about potential fire hazards caused by one of this holiday season's tech crazes called "hoverboards."

State Fire Marshal's Office spokesman Deputy Chief Brant Thompson pointed to one November incident where a home in Lafitte was badly damaged by a self-balancing, motorized scooter after it burst into flames.

Thompson also cited a YouTube video depicting an Alabama man riding one of the scooters as it began blasting projectiles and burning profusely.

“Unfortunately, the fire that occurred in Lafitte involving a hoverboard is not a unique occurrence,”said State Fire Marshal H. “Butch” Browning Jr., who serves as president of the NASFM Board of Directors. “The sheer number of incidents occurring around the country, and abroad, is what prompted our organization to address this serious issue on a national level.”

In  release, Thompson listed the following tips for buyers and owners to consider when purchasing and/or using the scooters.

  • When determining whether a scooter meets safety standards, buyers should look for indications of acceptance by recognized testing organizations, the information of which  may appear on the item’s packaging.
  • Consumers should also consider purchasing the items from reputable online and local stores that offer warranties.
  • Owners should also take care when charging the scooters, ensuring that they are not overcharged or left unattended while charging.
  • Following the manufacturer’s instructions when charging, and avoiding the use of improper or imitation chargers, should also be a priority.