Two sisters aged 10 and 15 were killed in a housefire that was reportedly sparked by a faulty hoverboard, a new lawsuit claims.
Heartbroken parents Jennifer and Damien Kaufman are suing Walmart and Jetson Electric Bikes after they couldn’t save the girls from their burning home.
The lawsuit claims that the April 1 fire started when a hoverboard purchased at the big-box retailer in 2018 caught fire in their 10-year-old daughter’s room.
The couple is arguing that Jetson and Walmart knew or should have known the hoverboard had a “defective and unreasonably dangerous design.”
The suit claims that despite this alleged oversight, Jetson and Walmart continued to market, sell, and advertise the hoverboard.
The lawsuit comes after the fire department confirmed the Hellertown, Pennsylvania, house fire was “electrical in nature” but did not specify the cause.
Brianna Baer, 15, and Abigail Kaufman, 10, were trapped on the second floor of the home after the hoverboard allegedly ignited.
Mother Jennifer was able to escape through the window of her first-floor bedroom while father Damien was in a detached garage outside.
Damien attempted to enter the home and rescue the two girls, but was tragically unsuccessful, according to the lawsuit.
The horrified parents “stood on the front lawn of their home and watched helplessly” as they waited for first responders to arrive.
Firefighters rescued the two girls, but they sadly succumbed to their injuries at St Luke’s University Hospital in Fountain Hill.
While fire officials did not confirm the exact cause of the fire, the Kaufmans’ attorney Tom Kline claims that an independent investigation proved the hoverboard was to blame.
“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,” he told reporters.
“We are convinced, based on our careful and thorough investigation, that the hoverboard is responsible.”
Walmart provided The U.S. Sun with a statement addressing the tragedy and lawsuit.
“Our thoughts go out to the Kaufman family for their loss,” a spokesperson for Walmart said.
“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 heartbroken family is seeking unspecified damages for medical expenses, funeral expenses, and damage to their house after the defendants engaged in “negligent, reckless, fraudulent and/or outrageous conduct,” the suit claims.
Kline said that the lawsuit would not only hold the manufacturer and retailer accountable but could also prevent similar tragedies from occurring in the future.