Family left homeless after fire to sue hoverboard makers

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Poorly made hoverboards risk setting fire to houses after laws banning their use on public land mean they are used more indoors, according to a lawyer for a family left homeless by a similar incident.

The expert is helping the parents from Wyke launch legal action for damage and injuries caused when a fire sparked by one of the gadgets ripped through their home, trapping their two young children and a friend inside.

Matthew Newbould said it was “vital” that a thorough investigation is carried out into the incident and all of the toys brought up to safety standards to avoid the same happening to another family.

He said: “Whilst the more reputable brands achieve very high safety standards, some of the cheaper brands have failed catastrophically, with the worst cases resulting in serious personal injury and extensive damage to property.

Eight-year-old Karen Chiem, her brother Tony, nine, and their friend Jibril Faris, 13, needed hospital treatment after a £280 hoverboard blew up in their living room shortly after it was taken off charge on the evening of January 16.

The toy ignited furniture in the room and the terrified children were forced to seek refuge in an upstairs room as smoke filled the house, preventing them from finding keys to unlock the front door.

The children had been in the house while their mother Thu Tram was outside and her husband, Vinh Hung Chiem, was out shopping.

Mrs Tram suffered burns as she rescued the children from the building and all four were taken to the Bradford Royal Infirmary for treatment for smoke inhalation and shock.

Mr Newbould, a product liability expert at Irwin Mitchell, said it had been a “miracle” no-one was killed in the fire and that they had escaped with only minor injuries.

“It is vital that a thorough investigation takes place, not only to provide answers to the Chiem family, but to ensure that the risk of something like this happening to another family is reduced as much as possible,” added Mr Newbould.