Sponsored By
An organization or individual has paid for the creation of this work but did not approve or review it.



Report: Charging 10 electric scooters didn’t cause fire

ST. PAUL -- A blaze in a St. Paul garage where multiple electric scooters were charging was not caused by the scooters, as a fire investigator initially thought possible.


ST. PAUL -- A blaze in a St. Paul garage where multiple electric scooters were charging was not caused by the scooters, as a fire investigator initially thought possible.

The investigation showed the fire in Highland Park started at an electrical outlet and was possibly ignited by a loose electrical connection, which could have been caused by wear and tear or improper installation, St. Paul Fire Capt. Joe Blank said this week.

While the scooters didn’t cause the fire, they could have been a contributing factor, Blank said.

Silicon Valley-based Lime received an agreement from the city of St. Paul in August and launched its electric scooters into the city. People can sign up to be “Juicers” for Lime - they agree to pick up scooters, charge them and get them back on the streets for people to rent.

A woman was charging eight scooters in a detached garage on Beechwood Avenue, near Fairview Avenue, on Sept. 17, her sister has said.


The working hypothesis after the fire was that charging a large number of scooters overloaded the electrical system, but the investigation found they had not overextended the system’s capacity. Rather, it was a “combination of several things happening at one time,” said Blank, who recently completed his final report on the fire.

“Maybe three scooters charging wasn’t enough to overheat the wire, but if you’re charging about 10 scooters, it’s a heavier (electrical) load,” Blank said. “Maybe it would have been OK if the wire had a good connection. We’re not blaming the fire on the scooters, but having multiple plugged in probably was the straw that broke the camel’s back.”

The fire started in the garage’s southeast corner at an electrical outlet and, in that part of the garage, six to eight Lime scooters were plugged in, according to the fire department report.

Several Bird electric scooters, which appeared to be on chargers, were located in another area of the garage and were not as heavily damaged as the Lime scooters, the report continued.

Blank said any similar size electrical load could have caused a fire under the circumstances.

“If there’s anything to be taken away from this, it’s when you start increasing the load on your electrical system, it’s probably not a bad idea to have someone take a look at your system, especially if you’re running on the higher end on a routine basis,” Blank said.

Reached for comment, a Lime spokesperson referred to the concluding paragraph of the fire department’s report, which noted, “The first fuel ignited was wood. The action that brought these items together was probably due to a poor electrical connection and an increased electrical load but within design limits from charging electrical scooters.”

Related Topics: FIRESST. PAUL
What To Read Next
Artificial intelligence can now act as an artist or a writer. Does that mean AI is ready to play doctor? Many institutions, including Mayo Clinic, believe that AI is ready to become a useful tool.
Josh Sipes was watching an in-flight movie when he became aware the flight crew were asking for help assisting a woman who was experiencing a medical problem.
Nonprofit hospitals are required to provide free or discounted care, also known as charity care; yet eligibility and application requirements vary across hospitals. Could you qualify? We found out.
Crisis pregnancy centers received almost $3 million in taxpayer funds in 2022. Soon, sharing only medically accurate information could be a prerequisite for funding.