San Francisco

Moped Fire Totals Cars in San Francisco

NBC Universal, Inc.

Investigators have ruled out arson in a moped fire that totaled two cars in San Francisco. 

The incident happened on Oak Street near Stanyan the afternoon of Sept. 29 when flames from a burning Revel moped torched Devin Dleharty’s car. 

The first-year medical student at UCSF said his car is a total loss, and now he doesn't know what to do with the rambling wreck.

“There’s street cleaning so I have to keep moving it around and it’s a safety hazard at this point it’s just dragging all these innards around,” he said.

Fleharty found a note on his windshield that day offering help, but there was no further contact until Tuesday. 

“Revel is investigating this rare incident,” said Robert Familiar, Revel spokesman. “We are not ruling out arson.”

But arson investigators have ruled it out.

“Conclusively, I would say with confidence this is not an arson fire,” said Jonathan Baxter, San Francisco Fire Department spokesperson. 

One possible cause: the moped’s lithium ion battery.

“With the introduction of the lithium ion battery and all the hazards associated with them, we are not immune to seeing these fires,” said Baxter.

Baxter said that with no eyewitnesses or surveillance video, we may never know what caused the scooter to catch fire as all the potential evidence-incinerated.

As for the other car that burned that night, it’s also totaled. Brian Nieh was about to go pick up his child at day care.

“I wanted to get this picture because it shows the tires have melted,” said Nieh. “I was approaching my car and the hood was like in a weird position like I thought someone was under my hood trying to jack something … But when I approached it it was much worse. It looked like a war zone picture.”

Revel says it has 500 electric scooters in San Francisco which have provided half a million rides and nothing like this. It also says the help for Dleharty and Nieh is up to its insurance carrier.

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