2 dogs killed, family displaced after suspected hoverboard fire

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Photo courtesy: homeowner David Carpenter. Bella is goldendoodle and Boo is Boston Terrier 

The Santa Rosa Fire Department suspects a hoverboard that was charging while unattended caused a house fire that killed two dogs Tuesday evening.

The cause of the 5 p.m. fire at 2130 E. Foothill Drive is considered accidental, but an A3 Original Transboard hoverboard was located in a bedroom of the single-family home where the fire started, Assistant Fire
Marshal Paul Lowenthal said.

The two beloved family dogs were a golden doodle named "Bella" and a Boston terrier named "Boo".

"Bella was lying in her bed and Boo was laying next to her," homeowner David Carpenter said choking back tears. "Just too much smoke, I guess." Carpenter said he's thankful the fire didn't happen in the middle of the night while his daughter was sleeping. "Or I might not have my daughter," he said quietly. The fire started in the child's bedroom.

Carpenter said the hoverboard was a Christmas gift for his daughter. His wife bought it on Amazon.com for about $300 before the online retailer stopped selling most of its hoverboard stock due to safety concerns. "It's like selling kids bombs," Carpenter said. "You never know when they are going to go off, I guess."

The fire caused serious damage to the front of the home and moderate to major smoke damage to the rest of the structure. It was controlled within 15 minutes.

The Fire Department notified the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission about the fire, which caused damage estimated to be between $200,000 and $250,000, Lowenthal said.

It is the first fire in Santa Rosa believed to be caused by a hoverboard with a lithium-ion battery, Lowenthal said. Leaking fluids, excessive heat, odor, sparking and smoke are signs of a malfunctioning
battery or charger, he said.

Elliot Kaye, chairman of the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission, said in December that field investigators are investigating hoverboard fires across the country and added that there were also hazards o 
people falling off the devices.

The Santa Rosa Fire Department recommends that hoverboard owners charge them in safe areas away from combustible materials, allow recently used hoverboards to cool before re-charging, stop using it and contact the manufacturer if it is hot, not charge it unattended and buy a hoverboard with a warranty from a reputable source.

The residents of the East Foothill Drive home that caught fire have alternate housing options with family and friends in the area, Lowenthal said.