A Massachusetts mom says she’s grateful her children are safe after a toy car the kids were riding in malfunctioned and caught on fire earlier this week.
Michelle Kline, 37, says she and her family were spending time outside their North Andover home on Tuesday, where she watched her young children, Quincy, 3, and 16-month-old Nellie play in their new SporTrax toy jeep. Suddenly, she saw smoke coming from the small vehicle.
“The car stops, it wasn’t going anymore. I was trying to help my son turn it around, it just stopped working,” Michelle tells PEOPLE. “Immediately, I smelled something electrical burning. There was some smoke coming out of the hood, so I ran up to them and unbuckled them and pulled them out.”
Less than a minute later, the toy burst into flames and “things were popping and getting crazy,” Michelle says, adding that she called the local fire department and authorities put out the flames.
“If I hadn’t been right there, if I hadn’t been very focused and paying attention, it could’ve been really bad,” the mom of three tells PEOPLE. “It was so scary. It’s crazy how fast bad things happen.”
A day after the incident, Michelle shared a video of the burning toy car on Instagram, prompting comments from social media users everywhere. She says she and her husband, 37-year-old Nick Kline, contacted officials with the website where they purchased the car, Big Toys Green Country. Michelle says administrators were apologetic and gave them a full refund of $589. The toy does not appear to be listed on the website any longer.
However, when they contacted the retailer of the toy, Rolling Hills Trading Inc., officials only told the couple that they are aware of the incident, Michelle tells PEOPLE. Officials with Rolling Hills Trading Inc. did not immediately respond to a request for comment from PEOPLE.
She and Nick believed the toy to be “super safe,” Michelle says. She tells PEOPLE that her children had played in the car at least four times before the incident.
“You don’t spend that much money and expect the thing to set on fire,” she says.
“When it was happening, [my 4-year-old Lucy] was upset then. There were some tears. It was definitely a very scary situation. I think we’re still processing it.”
The children were shown in a video smiling and laughing in the toy car shortly before the incident.
“It’s been hard getting answers about why this happened,” Michelle says, adding that she never expected the video to gain so much attention. “I put it up on my Instagram … it snowballed pretty quickly. If there’s something out there that’s dangerous for kids, we’re more than happy to share the video. It was important to get this out there. It’s been a real eye-opener.”
Officials with the North Andover Fire Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment from PEOPLE.
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