Skip is suspending its e-scooter service in the District while it investigates what caused a scooter to burst into flames in downtown Washington on Thursday, city and company officials said.
The company is pulling its scooters from the street at the request of the District Department of Transportation so “it can fully investigate the fire incident and perform all necessary safety checks,” an agency spokesman said.
“Skip must provide a full accounting of the incident and assurances that this was an isolated case,” the city spokesman said.
The scooter caught fire near 14th and I streets NW in front of a Compass Coffee shop. Employees at the shop said a woman came in to tell them that the scooter was on fire, but they did not see how it started.
The cause of the fire is not clear, though fire and company officials said it appears to have started around the battery pack while the scooter was parked.
Skip Scooters said that the company is investigating the incident and that it is not ruling out the possibility of “foul play.” The company said that it thinks this was an isolated case and that its other scooters are safe to ride.
DDOT has not suspended or revoked Skip’s permit. DDOT reserves the right to revoke a permit to operate in public spaces if it determines that it is in the public’s interest to do so.
“We still have no reason to believe in a systemic fleet issue, but we are continuing our investigation,” the company said in a statement Friday.
It said it decided to hold the deployment of scooters in the D.C. area this weekend until it can share investigative results with DDOT.
“Thanks to our D.C. area riders for your patience, and we look forward to being back on the road for you soon,” the company said.
The D.C. fire department and DDOT, which regulates scooter services, said Thursday that they were not aware of any other such incidents with scooters operated in the District.
The operating permit issued by the city requires that all scooters meet a standard for electrical systems for personal e-mobility devices or equivalent safety protections, DDOT said.
The scooter burst into flames around 11:30 a.m. Thursday. A fire engine crew responded two minutes later and found the scooter’s electric battery on fire, D.C. fire department spokesman Doug Buchanan said. No one was injured, and the fire was extinguished within minutes, he said.
Skip is one of six companies operating shared e-scooters in the District. The scooters have become a popular transportation option for commuters and residents. They are also available in Arlington and Alexandria, and soon in Montgomery County.