Payless pulls light-up shoes family believes caused car fire from shelves

KATY, Texas – The Harris County Fire Marshal's Office is investigating whether a child's pair of light-up sneakers is to blame for a weekend car fire at a home in Katy.

Attila and Jovan Virag bought the "Jake and the Neverland Pirates" light-up shoes at a Copperfield Payless ShoeSource last fall. Their 2-year-old son kicked his shoes off in the car Friday night and left them there.

When they went to the car Saturday morning, they found the backseat a charred, smoky mess.

"I saw the shoe on the ground with the wires sticking up and it was a lightbulb, I knew immediately that's what it was," Jovan Virag said.

The Virags believe a lithium ion battery inside the shoes may be to blame.

"You don't think about ... a blinky shoe. It's cool. You don't think about the risks," Attila Virag said.

Payless has pulled the shoes from the shelves until the investigation is completed.

In a statement, Payless spokesperson Meghan Spreer wrote,"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."

The Harris County Fire Marshal's Office has not yet determined the cause of the fire.

“This is still an active investigation,” said Captain Dean Hensley. “No cause for this fire has been determined; despite opinions stated by others not associated with the investigation. We will provide more information when it is available.”


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