Payless has pulled a series of light-up shoes designed for children after one Texas toddler’s pair of shoes may have caused a fire in his family’s SUV. The light-up shoes contained a lithium battery that became exposed through normal wear. The exposed battery then allegedly caused a fire, which burned a hole through the floor of the vehicle, leaving behind a charred Jake and the Neverland Pirates shoe.
Payless has pulled the Boy’s Jake Lighted Runner from shelves, as an investigation is underway into an SUV fire allegedly started by one of the shoes. According to KHOU, Attila Virag and his wife, Jovan, saw a smoky haze inside of their SUV as it was parked at their Katy, Texas, home. The couple opened the door to find that the passenger’s seat was melted and a hole had been burned through the floor. The family contacted the Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office in a bid to determine exactly what caused the fire, as there was only a pile of shoes and clothing in the seat at the time of the fire.
The fire marshal says he could not determine an exact cause of the fire but noted that the Payless Jake and the Neverland Pirates shoes could be to blame as the pair of shoes contained a lithium battery, which is known to cause fires. The fire marshal found a light-up shoe that was partially burned, leaving behind a “sizzled, charred battery and wiring.” The lithium battery found in the shoe is the same type of battery that caused the infamous Christmas hover board fires. The ion batteries were deemed to blame for more than 52 hover board fires over Christmas, causing $2 million damage.
Although the Boy’s Jake Lighted Runners have been removed from Payless shelves, the company says that the shoes have not been determined as the definitive cause of the fire and that an investigation is ongoing. The company says that they removed the shoes out of “an abundance of caution” and that they are working closely with the family.
“Out of an abundance of caution we have removed the Boys’ Jake Lighted Runner from our shelves until we can thoroughly investigate a customer claim regarding that shoe. First and foremost, safety is always a top priority at Payless and we take the claim made by the customer seriously. We have contacted the family, and we will work with them and local authorities to better understand the circumstances of the fire and what may have caused it.”
Prior to the fire, the light-up shoes had been moved to the clearance section and do not appear to be in continued production. The Daily Mail notes that lithium batteries have been known to cause fires and that many brands of light-up shoes use the controversial battery. After an extended period of use, the shoes battery can wear out, and the lithium batteries cartridge can be replaced which is located inside of the shoe. However, many parents may be unaware that the batteries can be replaced as children are expected to outgrow their shoes before the battery’s life expectancy is reached. It appears that the Virag family purchased the shoes directly from Payless, but it was not revealed as to how long the child wore the shoes before the apparent malfunction.
Although children will likely outgrow shoes before the battery’s life expectancy is reached, if a shoe is purchased second-hand, the battery could become an issue. Therefore, parents purchasing light-up shoes from a second-hand store or previous user should check to see if the battery compartment is accessible. If it is, the battery should be replaced. Not all brands of light-up shoes allow for removal of the battery for replacement and the shoe should be thrown out.
— Danner Evans (@DannerEvans) May 11, 2016
The Virag family says they are just happy that their 2-year-old son was not wearing the shoes, as he would have struggled to attempt to remove the shoe himself.
“I’m just glad that my son wasn’t wearing it at the time. I don’t know if he could have told me his foot was getting hot, and I don’t think he could have taken it off by himself.”
Did you know that some brands of light-up shoes contain controversial lithium batteries? Were you aware that some brands are designed so that users can replace the batteries as they age?
Editor’s note: this story previously incorrectly referred to Payless’ actions as a recall. Payless reached out to the Inquisitr to correct this error.
“First and foremost, safety is always a top priority at Payless and we take the claim made by the customer seriously. Out of an abundance of caution we have removed the Boys’ Jake Lighted Runner from our shelves and www.payless.com until we can thoroughly investigate a customer claim regarding that shoe. We are continuing to work with the family and local authorities in Houston to better understand the circumstances of the car fire and what may have caused it.”