Parents in Katy, Texas, made a startling discovery on May 7 when they looked at their SUV (video below). Attila Virag and his wife, Jovan, noticed a dark haze coming from their vehicle.
When they opened the door, they could smell burning plastic. It was clear a fire had started. The backseat fire burned a hole in the floor, and melted the passenger seat. The parents suspect their 2-year-old toddler's light-up shoes are to blame.
Jovan and Attila bought the shoes at Payless for their son, Warren.
"There just wasn't anything in there to start a fire. Only shoes and clothes," Jovan told KHOU.
The coupled contacted the Harris County Fire Marshal's Office to investigate the fire. Although the fire marshal has not made a decision on the cause of the fire, the light-up shoes have not been ruled out, reports KHOU.
"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," Jovan said.
One of the shoes was so badly burned, there was nothing left besides a charred battery and wiring, according to KHOU.
"I don't want this to happen to somebody else and we're relieved it happened in our car because at least that can be fixed," Jovan stated.
Attila took apart the remaining shoe, and discovered lithium batteries power the shoes' flashing lights. Attila suspects these batteries are what caused the fire.
"I didn't know there's a battery in there that could be flammable if it's shorted," he stated.
Now the parents are speaking out, hoping this won't happen to children wearing the shoes. Jovan took to social media platform Reddit, discussing what happened and seeking opinions.
"We came to the conclusion (along with the fire marshal) that it was my son's light-up shoes that started the fire. They were completely burnt and charred up with the wires from the lights sticking out," Jovan stated in the Reddit post.
One Reddit user suggested the lithium batteries used in the shoes are capable of producing a spark.
"The batteries in these things don't put out enough juice to electrocute anyone but they may cause a spark. If the shoe itself is made out of something flammable, or is placed next to something flammable such as trash in the back of your car, they could start a fire," the poster stated, Parent Herald reports.
The Virag family planned to contact Payless to discuss the shoes.