Goodness Gracious, Great Fidget Spinners of Fire

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The melted hunk of plastic formerly known as fidget spinner. Photo: WBRC

Remember back in 2015 when everybody and their neighbor bought a hoverboard, and then slowly those motorized scooters made with questionably safe batteries began lighting themselves on fire and burning people. (Hundreds of thousands of boards would later be recalled.) It’s happening again, it would seem, except this time the culprits are fidget spinners. The devices, in case you’re living under a rock or have not had the distinct pleasure that is walking down Canal Street, are the toy trend du jour. Which means fidget-spinner purveyors are trying to one up their competition. (Late-stage capitalism, baby!) Enter the Bluetooth-speaker-enabled fidget spinner, a device that at least two people have reported bursting into flames and melting.

In Alabama, Kimberly Allums says her son had plugged in his spinner to charge for about 45 minutes when it caught fire. “He noticed that it burst into flames and he just started screaming. I was downstairs and all I heard was ‘fire … fire’ and the fidget spinner had literally, It was smoking, It was in flames,” she told WBRC. Her son threw the spinner into the sink to put out the fire. A woman in Michigan, Michelle Carr, told a similar story to NBC 25 News. “I personally won’t buy another one because of the fear of it,” she said after her spinner caught fire while charging. “But I know there are tons of kids who want to go get them, but if you plug them in, just stay by and make sure it’s charged and it doesn’t catch.” (Neither woman specified what particular brand of fidget spinner they were using, though Allums noted the packaging on her son’s said it was “Made in China.”)

The Consumer Product Safety Commission advised Gizmodo with advice similar to Carr’s. “Never charge a product with batteries overnight while you are sleeping,” CPSC said. “Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use the charger from the manufacturer that is designed specifically for your device.” Alternatively, skip the high-tech spinner and just use a fidget-spinner app while playing music on your phone at the same time. Then all you have to worry about is your phone exploding.

Fidget Spinners Are Bursting Into Flames