Pennsylvania parents sue Walmart after daughters, aged 10 and 15, die in house fire caused by defective hoverboards
HELLERTOWN, PENNSYLVANIA: Jennifer Kaufman and her husband Damien Kaufman are suing Walmart and Jetson Electric Bikes after two of their daughters, Brianna Baer, 15, and Abigail Kaufman, 10, died in a house fire caused by Jetson Rogue Hoverboard.
According to News & Observer, the lawsuit, filed on September 21, 2022, in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, states, "Jetson and Walmart knew or should have known about the hoverboards’ electrical defects and risks but did not acknowledge those risks. Instead, the companies continued selling the product, engaging in reckless, intentional, fraudulent, and/or outrageous conduct that contributed to the fire." The lawsuit comes after the fire department confirmed that the house fire was "electrical in nature" but did not specify the cause.
How did the tragedy occur?
The incident, that occurred on April 1, 2022, when a hoverboard caught fire while it was being charged, killed the young girls, who were trapped on the second floor of the house when the fire erupted sometime after midnight on the first floor. The mother escaped from the first floor and their father was in the detached garage when the incident happened, the lawsuit states, as per Fox43.
The father reportedly tried to get back into the home to rescue his daughters but couldn't succeed. Firefighters rescued the two girls, but they succumbed to their injuries at St Luke's University Hospital in Fountain Hill.
Kaufmans' attorney Tom Kline, as quoted by The Sun, said, "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. We are convinced, based on our careful and thorough investigation, that the hoverboard is responsible."
"We intend to hold the seller and the manufacturer of this dangerous product responsible for the deaths of two innocent young children, and, in doing so, seek to prevent future preventable injury, death, and grief from occurring," Kline added.
Walmart addresses the tragic incident
In a statement to The Sun, a Walmart spokesperson 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."