With Christmas round the corner, Paul Hodkinson believed the perfect present for three of his grandchildren would be hoverboards.
However, he and his wife Elaine, 57, say they were lucky to escape with their lives after one of the hoverboards exploded in their kitchen, causing £25,000 worth of damage.
Mr Hodkinson, who with his wife has six grandchildren, said the £300 hoverboard – also known as a balance scooter – fizzed ‘like a firework’ before going off like a bomb in their three-bedroom semi in Deal, Kent.
‘Elaine and I are in shock,’ he said. ‘You don’t expect a toy you buy for your grandchildren to explode like that. If one of the grandchildren had been anywhere near that scooter they could have been killed.
‘It’s lucky both of us got out of the house when we did. We dread to think what might have happened.’
Sales of hoverboards have recently surged with many online retailers reporting rises of more than 200 per cent. They are expected to be this year’s must-have Christmas gadget.
That is despite an incident last month where one went up in flames, leading London Fire Brigade to warn of the dangers of leaving them unattended while charging.
Mr Hodkinson, a courier, bought the hoverboards online for the three eldest grandchildren and one for a friend’s daughter.
He then took one to show grandchildren Jayden, six, and Connor-Jay, 13, to check they would be big enough to use them. ‘They thought the scooters were fantastic,’ he said. ‘I felt so happy we’d sorted out their Christmas presents early.’
To check they all worked, Mr Hodkinson plugged one in to charge in the kitchen. He said: ‘Elaine and I were in the living room when we heard a massive swoosh. Through a glass door to the kitchen we could see a bright yellow glow of flames.’
Mr Hodkinson, 44, opened the door to be met with flames leaping from the battery pack of the hoverboard.
He said: ‘For a moment I froze – there was an instinct to try and put the flames out. But then I heard the hoverboard fizzing in the flames. It sounded like a firework.
‘Thankfully I decided to close the door and call the fire brigade because within seconds there was a massive bang and the hoverboard exploded. It was terrifying – like a mini bomb going off. Neighbours heard it three houses away.
‘We were horrified when we saw the damage. The kitchen is blackened and the rest of the house is smoke damaged. All we could do was salvage a few belongings. We’ve had to stay at my daughter’s.’
He added: ‘My biggest fear is that someone will be killed. The explosion came without any warning. The hoverboard had only been on charge for an hour.’
BBC1’s Watchdog reported that the plugs supplied with some hoverboards, most of which are made in China, did not have fuses and could be at risk of overheating.
Credit: Daily Mail