SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Mike Walker says the Angry Birds UFO Helicopter he bought for his 8-year-old daughter started smoking then caught fire after 15 minutes on the charger.
Walker says he found the Angry Birds flying toy through a deal on Groupon. He thought it would make a perfect stocking stuffer for his daughter.
He says that shortly after opening it on Christmas, it was on fire, it “burst into flames like a welding torch.”
Walker says he grabbed the toy and tossed it outside, “Everyone was freaked out; it was kind of a big deal.”
The CBS station in Tennessee WVLT also reported on a similar case saying it was, “A close call for a Sevier man after an Angry Birds toy helicopter started smoking and melting.”
We were unable to reach the Sevier family to find out where they bought their toy, which manufacturer made it and if their toy included a wall charger.
In the case of the Walkers, they say their toy did not come with a wall charger, so they used a regular cell phone charger.
We wanted to know if mixing and matching USB chargers with different devices could potentially be a problem.
Executive Editor Ian Sherr at CNET says it is a risk to interchange charging devices; he says it could make batteries unstable.
“When batteries become unstable that’s where you could suddenly have a release which is also an explosion,” said Sherr.
He suggests if a device does not come with a charger, he says buy one from the same manufacturer.
We ordered the same Angry Birds toy through the same Groupon dealer; it came with a USB cord, but no wall charger.
We reached out to World Tech Toys the distributor of the Angry Birds UFO Helicopter to see if there have been other reported incidents.
World Tech Toys told us, “We have not received any other complaints about this item, and we have sold millions of units of them. We take this type of complaint very serious … Our toys are made with small (250mah) rechargeable battery (sp) to prevent fires.”
The company also sent us a video, which shows the battery being intentionally overcharged; the test shows the battery inflating but does not catch fire.
We contacted Groupon, which refunded Walker. Groupon told us, “We’ve sold more than 1,000 of these, and this is the only product safety contact we’ve received.”
The Consumer Product Safety Commission has taken possession of the Walker’s burned toy and is investigating.
Walker is glad no one was hurt, “Could have been a fire. My house could have burned down.”