Payless pulls light up shoe off store shelves after car fire

Credit: ABC News

(ABC NEWS) – Parents are taking a closer look at popular toddler light-up shoes after one Katy, Texas family’s terrifying experience over the weekend.

“As soon as we opened up the car door, we could smell the burning plastic,” Jovan Virag said Sunday.

The backseat of the Virag’s car caught fire. The family believes their son Warren’s favorite “Jake and the Never Land Pirates” light-up shoes and the lithium battery that powers them are to blame.

“I’m just glad that my son wasn’t wearing them at the time,” said Virag. “I don’t know if he could have told me his foot was hot, and I don’t think he could have taken it off by himself.”

The Harris County Fire Marshal’s office is still investigating. An exact cause is not final yet, but the shoe remains a possible cause. The family says investigators came by the house again Monday to take more photos of the sizzled shoe.

“We won’t buy them anymore, that’s for sure,” said Warren’s father, Attila Virag.

KHOU reporter Marcelino Benito bought a pair of the same shoes today at a local Payless store and took them to a fire investigator to get his take on the potential danger.

“Even though it’s a small battery, it still has enough energy to create a fire,” said Cam Cope, President t of Auto Fire and Safety Consultants. He says the shoes can literally light up.

“They’re not high quality,” said Cope. “They’re made in China. In China, the wiring is very, very small. The smaller the wire, the more potential problems you’ll have with wires and fires.”

Payless provided the following statement Monday:

“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 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.”

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