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Family believes toddler’s light-up shoes led to fire that destroyed their car

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KATY, Texas — A family’s toddler kicked off his light-up shoes in their car on Friday night, May 6th, and left them there. The next day, the shoes and the car were a charred, smoky mess. 

The family suspects a battery in the shoes caught fire.

The Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating whether the shoes are to blame for the fire.

Attila and Jovan Virag told KPRC they bought the “Jake and the Neverland Pirates” light-up shoes at a Payless store last fall. They said they were shocked when they went to the car on Saturday morning and saw the mess.

“I saw the shoe on the ground with the wires sticking up and it was a light bulb. 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 spokeswoman 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.