Published: 00:00, 02 November 2015
| Updated: 17:25, 02 November 2015
A gadget dubbed this year’s must-have Christmas gift has caused £25,000 worth of damage to a home in Deal.
Paul Hodkinson, 44, of Liverpool Road, thought he was being super-savvy when he purchased three hoverboards online as Christmas presents for his grandchildren.
But his opinion changed when one of the hoverboards, otherwise known as a balance scooter, caught alight while charging, destroying his kitchen.
Speaking to KentOnline, Mr Hodkinson said: “I’m going to try and return the other two now. If not, I’m just going to destroy them. They’re dangerous.”
The self employed courier bought the gadgets from China and waited a week for them to come.
When they arrived, he took one to show his grandchildren Jayden, six, and Connor-Jay, 13, to check they would be big enough to use them.
He told the Daily Mail: “They thought the scooters were fantastic. 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 was in his living room with his wife, Elaine, 57, when he heard a “massive swoosh”.
The couple peered through their glass door to see flames and the gadget fizzing around the kitchen like a firework, before going off like a bomb.
The couple called the fire brigade. A crew from Deal attended the incident on Thursday, October 22 and initially reported back that the fire had been started by an electric mobility scooter.
Mr Hodkinson told the Daily Mail: “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.”
The kitchen is blackened and the rest of the property is smoke damaged. Mr Hodkinson is unable to live there and is currently staying with his daughter.
He told KentOnlone he has shared his story “to get the word out there,” as he fears somebody could be seriously hurt.
BBC1’s Watchdog reported the plugs supplied with some hoverboards, most of which are made in China, did not have fuses and could be at risk of overheating.
A Kent Fire and Rescue spokeswoman said: “Our key message would be for people not to leave items charging overnight or if they go out. Always unplug the charger after use.
“This applies to mobile phones, laptops and e-cigarettes.”
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