Sisters die in fire sparked by hoverboard, lawsuit claims


Two Pennsylvania sisters were killed when their hoverboard erupted in flames that destroyed their home, according to a lawsuit filed against Walmart and the device’s maker.

Brianna Baer, 15, and Abigail Kaufman, 10, were trapped on the second floor of their house in Hellerton when the Jetson Rogue hoverboard caught fire on April 1, the Morning Call reported.

The sisters’ mom, Jennifer Lee Kaufman, fled the conflagration from the first floor — while their dad, Damien Kaufman, ran from the detached garage in a desperate attempt to save the girls, the news outlet added.

Brianna and Abigail were rescued by firefighters but died at a local hospital, according to the report.

Fire victims Brianna Baer, 15, and her sister Abigail Kaufman, 10
Brianna Baer, 15, and her sister Abigail Kaufman, 10, died in a fire sparked by their hoverboard, a new suit claims.
FOX 29

Northampton County officials have determined that the fire was “electrical in nature” but said the specific cause is still under investigation, the Morning Call said.

On Wednesday, the family filed a lawsuit in US District Court against the hoverboard’s manufacturer, Jetson Electric Bikes, and Walmart, where the Rogue was purchased at an outlet in Quakertown.

House in Hellerton goes up in flames
A lawsuit alleges the sisters’ home in Hellerton, Pennsylvania, was destroyed in a blaze sparked by a hoverboard.
FOX 29

Abigail was charging the board — which Damien bought as a Christmas present for Brianna — in her bedroom when the fire started, the family said.

The suit alleges the Rogue’s batteries were subject to short circuits and degradation, and that the device was not adequately tested before distribution and sale.

Parents Jennifer Lee Kaufman and Damien Kaufman
Parents Jennifer Lee Kaufman and Damien Kaufman survived the fire that destroyed their home and killed their daughters.
Facebook/Jen Kaufman

The defendants “knowingly, purposely and consciously concealed their knowledge of these serious dangers,” according to the federal lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages.

Tom Kline, a Philadelphia attorney representing the parents, said an independent probe concluded that the hoverboard was responsible for the tragedy.

“We conducted a thorough cause-and-origin investigation with multiple experts in which we carefully evaluated the evidence not only from the fire scene itself but also did an inspection of the hoverboard,” Kline told the Morning Call.

“We are convinced based on our careful and thorough investigation that the hoverboard is responsible,” he added.

Jetson Rogue hoverboard
A Jetson Rogue hoverboard like the one that allegedly sparked the fatal fire.
ridejetson.com

Jetson, which also sells electric bikes and scooters, was founded in 2012. Its website says the $170 Rogue — which has a waiting list — has a lithium battery with a two-hour charging time.

The company could not be immediately reached by The Post for comment on Friday.

In a statement to Fox 43, a Walmart rep said: “Our thoughts go out to the Kaufman family for their loss. We expect our suppliers to provide safe, quality products that meet all applicable laws and regulations. We will respond with the Court as appropriate after we are served with the complaint.”

The Consumer Product Safety Commission says it is aware of 250 incidents involving hoverboards that have caught fire or overheated since 2015, the news outlet said.

In March 2017, a 2-year-old girl and a 10-year-old girl were killed in a similar house fire in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, according to the Morning Call.



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