By Hollie Bone
A single mum’s home has been destroyed in a near-fatal house blaze after she claims her children’s HOVERBOARD charger burst into flames minutes after being switched on.
Rebecca Lawton, from Warrington, Cheshire, said she felt sick when she heard the news less than an hour after leaving for the school run and was ‘wracking her brains’ as to what had caused the blaze last Wednesday [JULY 3].
The devastated family have lost nearly all their possessions, including irreplaceable family memorabilia, with shocking images revealing the extent of the destruction.
But the business owner and mum-of-three believes har family had a ‘lucky escape’ from the inferno, which took just 15 minutes to take hold of the house after the gadgets were left charging.
Rebecca, 35, said: “I put the hoverboards on charge at 8.50am and left the house, and by about 9.50am my neighbour was calling me to tell me the house was on fire.
“I raced back to the house, I was almost throwing up in the car I was so worried.
“When I got there they told me they had been called at 9.05am, so it had taken just 15 minutes to cause all that damage.
“I was wracking my brains to work out how it might have happened because I’m so careful and usually turn everything off, but as soon as they told me where the fire had started, I knew it was the hoverboards and my first thought was ‘thank god it didn’t happen overnight.
“I’ve tried not to think about it because I’d just crumble, but it could have been fatal if we were there.
“I don’t know how we would have escaped if we’d been inside, especially because of the layout of the house, and where the fire started.
“I’ve heard a lot of bad press about hoverboards since, saying that they are a fire hazard.
“It’s happened now and there’s nothing we can do, but it’s made me a lot more aware now.
“Every time I see one it will make me shudder, I won’t be getting the kids a hoverboard ever again.”
Rebecca, who works as a wedding videographer, was relieved to hear that all her camera equipment had been left unscathed by the fire, but has lost countless photographs and other memories in the blaze which spanned three floors.
She bought the £10 charger on Amazon last Tuesday [JUL 2], after being given the two hoverboards by a friend only a few days before and had never even used them before putting them on charge.
Rebecca said: “The fire service told me that it was a fault with the charger that had caused it to set alight.
“At first I was blaming myself because it was just a charger off Amazon that I’d ordered because the kids were so desperate to use the boards and I could get next day delivery with Amazon Prime.
“When I think about it I should have contacted the official manufacturer and got a fully certified charger, but it’s so common just to get something quickly online now and so many people have told me they would do the same thing.”
Now Rebecca has contacted Trading Standards with information about the private seller on Amazon, who are investigating the sale and the device.
She said: “It’s everything else that has been left destroyed, we’ve literally been left with the clothes on our backs – the kids were at school so they only have their school uniform.
“I thought about trying to wash some of the clothes but the fire crews told me the smoke damage is so bad they would just break the washing machine.
“It’s all the memories you build up that are the hardest thing to lose – things like the children’s photos and baby shoes and I had a model ship which belonged to my grandfather and had been passed down for generations.
“I’m just trying to keep smiling.”
Rebecca is now looking for a rental property, but has thanked the emergency services, the local community and the Red Cross for their support.
She said: “Everyone has been absolutely incredible, I don’t know what we would have done without them.
“They’ve donated clothes, food and all kinds of support.
“People’s generosity has been absolutely overwhelming. I’m so grateful to them all.”