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Hoverboard Sparked Fire That Destroyed Stoneham Home, Officials Say

Meghan Mahoney wants to warn people that keeping a hoverboard is not worth what it cost her and her family

A little over a month ago, the Mahoney family watched as their home in Stoneham, Massachusetts, was boarded up after a fire destroyed it.

Now they have a warning about the once-trendy toy that started the blaze: a hoverboard that they'd planned to get rid of just days before.

"It was from 2015 and just kept floating from closet to closet. I finally took it out to be given away. I never thought I'd plug it in again but [did it] on a whim," Meghan Mahoney said.

She and her husband and Jon have four daughters but only one was at the home on Flint Avenue with their dog when the fire broke out on Oct. 12.

Meghan and Jon were on their way to Vermont when she got a Facetime call from her daughter at home.

"She heard a bang. She was upstairs taking a shower so she immediately thought someone was in the house. She opened the door and black smoke came rushing in," Meghan Mahoney said.

She handed the phone to her husband and called police while he talked their daughter through an escape route: climbing out a window onto an overhang.

"She was standing there when police arrived and she jumped from that landing to the ground," Meghan said.

The daughter and their dog made it out alive. And while Meghan and Jon sped home, they started brainstorming what could have possibly sparked the flames.

"I was thinking of candles, or was Allison cooking something? And it just hit me. I said, 'Oh my God, Jon, I plugged in that hoverboard right before we left," Meghan said.

Her suspicions would prove to be correct, confirmed by fire officials.

She had bought the hoverboard for her daughter in 2015 and had planned to get rid of it as no one had used it in years, but her 7-year-old wanted to give it a try one last time.

Since the fire, Meghan saw hoverboards being sold at a department store and she said her heart stopped and blood pressure rose. The sight of them being sold brought a rush of traumatic memories.

Now she wants to warn people that keeping a hoverboard is not worth what it cost her and her family.

"Obviously, as a mother I felt awful, guilty that I had plugged the hoverboard in. And talking to friends, a lot of good friends who have kids the same age as my daughter ... they all said, 'I have three of them in my basement, I still have mine.' Everybody bought them that year, every kid got them," Meghan said.

The fire marshal discourages anything being plugged in for longer than a full charge.

The Mahoney family is displaced for now, but plans to rebuild as their home has been in Jon's family for three generations.

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