E-bikes can be great fun, super useful, and excellent ways to get around. But there are a lot of stories about sketchy e-bike battery fires as well. And like other fires, they're always worse if they happen completely unattended, so no one can even begin to put them out in a timely fashion.

That's apparently what happened earlier in June 2024 at a building on the Couer D'Alene, Idaho government campus.

An outbuilding that housed the Couer D'Alene Police Department's IT department, Couer D'Alene Animal Control, and a bunch of vehicles for the police department burned down completely. Even though the Couer D'Alene Fire Department was right next door at the time, they had a tough time battling the fire and eventually getting it put out. It took 30 firefighters to eventually wrestle the blaze into submission.

Thankfully, no one was hurt, according to local news reports. But the police department lost a bunch of vehicles in the fire, including a SWAT vehicle, an incident command trailer, and all of its motorcycles and e-bikes.

At the time the fire was initially reported, no speculation regarding the cause of the fire was given. Instead, Couer D'Alene officials said they were investigating the cause of the fire and would issue a follow-up report in the coming weeks.

Get the best news, reviews, columns, and more delivered straight to your inbox.
For more information, read our
Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

But as Idaho State Fire Marshals investigated the devastating fire, they found that one of the batteries on an e-bike that the Police Department had recently acquired suffered a "catastrophic failure." 

Police had used the bike the evening prior, and then set it to charge according to the training they had received about proper e-bike charging. Investigators also said that the bike showed evidence of having been properly plugged in, and that neither it nor the charging station (nor the battery itself) had been damaged prior to the fire. 

According to State Fire Marshal Knute Sandahl, the fire is being ruled an accident. A complete forensic analysis is in the works, to be completed by the city's insurance company. 

It's a particularly potent reminder to be careful when charging your e-bikes, e-scooters, and other electric mobility vehicles. They're awesome when they're working, but no one wants to accidentally burn their home, work, or school down.

Got a tip for us? Email: tips@rideapart.com