Hoverboard ignites Gwinnett apartment fire; 38 people displaced

Nine families at a Gwinnett County apartment complex were displaced after a hoverboard, purchased as a birthday present, caught fire inside an apartment Thursday night.

Smoke from the fire at the Fields Peachtree Corners Apartments in the 6500 block of Hillandale Drive damaged an entire building, Gwinnett fire spokesman Justin Wilson said.

The blaze started inside one of the units just after 10 p.m. The family that lived in that apartment were at dinner celebrating their 12-year-old’s birthday at the time, Channel 2 Action News reported.

Neighbors could hear their smoke alarms sounding through the walls, Wilson said.

“The fire investigator determined the fire originated in the living room and was caused by hoverboard components,” he said.

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Johnny Fletcher, who had recently bought the hoverboard as a gift for his daughter, told Channel 2 he saw the flames when they arrived home and grabbed a fire extinguisher.

“It wasn’t containable,” the father said.

When firefighters arrived, they found flames shooting from a patio door and five people trapped on a nearby third-floor balcony.

They quickly knocked down the flames and contained the fire to the apartment, allowing those trapped to escape through a breezeway, Wilson said.

The damage to the apartment was extensive, he said, but no one was injured. Another unit sustained water damage.

“With multiple doors forced open during evacuations and smoke damage throughout the entire structure, it was determined the entire building would be displaced due to the damage,” Wilson said.

A total of 38 people inside the 10-unit building were affected, according to fire officials.

Fletcher is just thankful his family decided to go out to eat.

“That saved us,” he told Channel 2. “By the grace of God ... (we) would have went to bed like normal and probably would have never woke up."