Nikola Claimed ‘Foul Play’ Over Scorched Trucks. Fire Dept. Finds ‘No Evidence at All of Arson’

Nikola’s claim of foul play has been refuted by the Phoenix Fire Department, listing the cause of the fire as “undetermined.”

byChris Rosales|
Phoenix Fire Department
Phoenix Fire Department. Phoenix Fire Department


EV semi-truck startup Nikola has landed in hot water after making claims of “foul play” in a recent blaze at its Phoenix, Arizona factory that destroyed multiple trucks. The claims are now under scrutiny after the Phoenix Fire Department conducted an investigation of the fire and concluded there was “no evidence at all of arson.”

The fire occurred early morning on June 23 behind the company headquarters where there were several trucks. Two burned to a crisp, while another two were heavily fire damaged. The initial claim from Nikola of “foul play” was based entirely on the fact that a vehicle was apparently spotted near the damaged trucks shortly before the fire. The fire prompted an unusually large emergency response due to the nature of battery fires, with 50 firefighters called in from surrounding areas along with hazmat crews to handle the delicate task of fighting a battery fire.

According to Electrek, the Phoenix Fire Department conducted an investigation into the fire in the days after it, looking into the cause of the fire that Nikola maintained was intentional. Despite Nikola’s claims, the Phoenix FD found no evidence toward the claim of foul play and in fact couldn’t find a definite cause for the fire. The cause is listed as “undetermined” by the fire department, which weakens Nikola’s claim substantially, especially considering that this isn’t the fire time the truck maker has been in trouble surrounding battery defect issues. Not to mention, accusations of intricate fraud to balloon the stock price of the company that made Nikola founder Trevor Milton a multi-billionaire at Nikola’s Initial Public Offering.

Nikola delivered just 64 trucks in Q1 of 2023, remaining a small operation despite huge investment and even bigger promises. The Phoenix FD rebuttal of the “foul play” claim puts the cause of the fire into question, and now focuses attention back on the truck maker. 

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