Staff from Cobar Fire Station were called to a fire at a home in Lewis Street early on Sunday morning which is believed to have been caused by a hoverboard.
Superintendent Jeremy Fewtrell, Fire & Rescue NSW’s manager of the Fire Investigation & Research Unit, said while the matter is currently under investigation the cause of the fire appears to be a hoverboard that was left on charge in the hallway.
“This is the first hoverboard fire in New South Wales that we are aware of,” Superintendent Fewtrell told The Cobar Weekly on Monday.
He said following a report of a hoverboard fire on January 4 in Melbourne, Fire & Rescue NSW has been liaising with Fair Trading over the potential dangers of some brands of hoverboards. (Hoverboards are wheeled ride-on devices with a single axle which are powered by a lithium battery via connection to a mains power supply.)
The Minister for Small Business issued a safety warning notice on January 12 to the public in relation to hoverboards and encourages consumers to check the recalls website (www.recalls.gov.au) for recalled brands.
In the wake of this incident Superintendent Fewtrell reminded consumers they should only buy electrical goods from reputable sources to ensure both the devices and their chargers are compliant with Australian Standards.
“People with hoverboards should be aware of the dangers.
“They should not leave them on charge unattended.
“That way if there are any problems they will be aware of them straight away.
“If they notice any smoking, smouldering or it getting hot, they should unplug it immediately, if it’s safe to do so,” he warned.
Superintendent Fewtrell said if there is a fire to contact 000 immediately.
He said in the case of the Lewis Street fire on Sunday the resident wasn’t at home at the time. A 000 call from a neighbour who had smelled smoke and then noticed it coming from the home alerted Fire & Rescue NSW to the blaze.
The fire had burnt through the timber flooring and there was also some damage to a wall.
“They did a very good job,” Superintendent Fewtrell said of the Cobar crew’s efforts.
Four other electrical fires believed to have started in air conditioners over the past two weeks are also currently being investigated.
Electrical fires to homes in Jandra Crescent on Australia Day, Kurrajong Circle on January 22 and Clifton Place on January 15, along with a Marshall Street business on January 17, have all caused varying degrees of damage.
Cobar Fire Brigade Captain Brad Lennon said smoke alarms have proven to save lives in many instances including another local fire in the early hours of Boxing Day 2015, which completely destroyed a home in Prince Street.
He said the two occupants of the house were awoken just before 2am by their smoke alarm and were lucky to have escaped uninjured before flames engulfed their home.