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DL flight 1297 SAT>ATL personal device battery fire 02/27/19 on runway

DL flight 1297 SAT>ATL personal device battery fire 02/27/19 on runway

Old Feb 28, 19, 9:07 am
  #1  
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Exclamation DL flight 1297 SAT>ATL personal device battery fire 02/27/19 on runway

Hello FT'r friends,

So, still in disbelief this morning about the very dangerous and scary event that happened last night. I'm drafting a letter to Delta and interested in any other advice that can ensure all of our safety.

My DL flight 1297 SAT>ATL 02/27/19 landed 20 minutes early and our gate wasn't open. Pilot informed us we had to wait on the tarmac for gate clearance. I'm in FC 1C and there's a guy across the aisle from me (1B). I'm napping & he's on his phone.

I awake to a sound identical to a Roman candle. I look over to 1B and in the bulk head pocket there's about a 6" sparking flame and billowing smoke coming from the pocket. Within 1 minute (and I'm not kidding) the entire FC cabin is full of toxic smoke. The 1B guy somehow grabs the small bag in the pocket & throws it on the floor (right next to me) and I jumped up, grabbed my blanket & ran toward the coach seating.

FA's & pilot are trying to put out the devices in the bag (two portable battery phone chargers) with a fire extinguisher and water. No effect (not kidding). Smoke still billowing. Pilot somehow picks up the bag with oven mits (I think) and throws the thing out the pilot's window (I know this because I asked the pilot how he got the damn thing off the plane).

Fire department ensued and cleared us for a gate. FA's and pilot asked us if we were ok. We were all coughing up a storm and the awful smoke and residual smell was unbearable. I think we were all just so thankful the stupid devises didn't ignite in mid-air.

I asked the 1B guy what the devices were and he said they were portable, battery phone chargers he has used for a long time. One was purchased through Tesla and one from Amazon.

Still shaking my head and finally registering how dangerous this event was.

Other than emailing Delta, anything/anyone I should report this to?

Thanks a million,
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Old Feb 28, 19, 9:16 am
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This will be certainly reported to the FAA as an incident so you don't have to do anything yourself. Battery fires on flights - while not common - occur with some regularity. One happens roughly every 10 days (30 a year or so in 2017).

While you say that the fire extinguisher and water had no effect, it almost certainly did. Using a halon extinguisher to first dampen and slightly cool followed by dousing it in water is the recommended way to dampen a battery fire (dampen is the right word, as once out of control combustion has started, it will continue to combust/release energy for some time - the goal is to reduce the rate of discharge sufficiently that it will not create secondary fires). Once the battery has cooled down sufficiently, it can be stored in a metal container designed for batteries in a safe place for the remainder of the flight (if in the air).

My guess is that it was one purchased through Amazon. There are a lot of cheap, crappy battery packs without the right safety components.

Regardless, even the best designed and manufactured lithium ion battery has a small chance of catastrophic failure. Batteries are just a fancy way of storing large amounts of relatively volatile chemical energy in a stable enough way such that the device does not ignite.
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Old Feb 28, 19, 9:17 am
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All "reporting" to official agencies will be handled by the crew and airline.

I doubt you will be shedding any light on the event to Delta.
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Old Feb 28, 19, 10:14 am
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Are you looking for compensation?
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Old Feb 28, 19, 10:42 am
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Originally Posted by ijgordon View Post
Are you looking for compensation?
I really haven't thought about compensation. I've thought more about safety.
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Old Feb 28, 19, 11:05 am
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Originally Posted by babe11 View Post
... I jumped up, grabbed my blanket & ran toward the coach seating.
Originally Posted by babe11 View Post
I've thought more about safety.
... only yours, apparently.
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Old Feb 28, 19, 11:15 am
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Reminds me what George Constanza and Michael Scott would do....
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Old Feb 28, 19, 11:44 am
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Originally Posted by SSF556 View Post
Reminds me what George Constanza and Michael Scott would do....
Maybe the fire on this flight was actually one of Dwight Schrute's emergency preparedness drills?
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Old Feb 28, 19, 12:02 pm
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Originally Posted by kennycrudup View Post
... only yours, apparently.
So if someone throws a flaming battery on the floor next to you, you would just stand there? OP got out of the way (taking combustible material) and let the professionals do their job.

Maybe we can at least all agree to set the threshold of where we don't bash the OP to be "OP was on a plane with a fire".
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Old Feb 28, 19, 12:09 pm
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Originally Posted by bennos View Post
OP got out of the way
No, OP got in the way, and didn't even attempt to help.
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Old Feb 28, 19, 12:15 pm
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Does DL have the fire containment bags on all planes yet?
I thought I'd read that all US airlines were outfitting planes with them.
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Old Feb 28, 19, 12:28 pm
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I suspect it's the email to DL that has people riled up with the OP. DL owes the OP nothing. Stuff happens.

You can be certain that the pilots and the FAs will be filing paperwork with their airline about the incident. Since the fire department was also involved, this will be investigated. It sounds like everyone handled it well and yes you should counting your lucky stars that you were on the ground when this happened. I'd be surprised if the airplane didn't have a fire containment bag. Perhaps it was used.

Lithium batteries are a real problem. Removing the heat or oxygen alone won't stop the fire as it's a chemical runaway. My guess is a major disaster will happen and they will eventually be banned from airplanes.
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Old Feb 28, 19, 12:32 pm
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Originally Posted by Raymoland View Post
My guess is a major disaster will happen and they will eventually be banned from airplanes.
I don't know if something as extreme as that will happen, though- every battery-operated device I regularly travel with (two cellphones, a tablet, my headphones, my laptop, my watch, my travel router) have LiON batteries in them; in a modern world this essentially means "no electronics" and I just can't see that happening.
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Old Feb 28, 19, 1:44 pm
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Originally Posted by mot29 View Post
Does DL have the fire containment bags on all planes yet?
I'm sure that's where the "oven mits" came from.

https://ww1.prweb.com/prfiles/2012/0...inment-bag.jpg

Here is an FAA training film on fighting lithium battery fires.

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Old Feb 28, 19, 1:53 pm
  #15  
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No point writing the e-mail.

Wonder if they should have disarmed and opened the forward doors to ventilate and clear cabin smoke, after the devices had been removed from the cabin. Though this would have required the engines to be shut off I suppose.
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