Federal regulators should consider further regulations on electronic cigarettes on airplanes, Massachusetts’ top fire official said after his office recently concluded one of the devices caused a small fire on a plane at Logan Airport.
The Aug. 9 fire, confined to a single piece of luggage in the cargo hold, forced a temporary evacuation of the plane. A baggage handler located and extinguished the fire before the JetBlue aircraft took off for Buffalo, New York.
Massachusetts Fire Marshal Stephen Coan said his office’s investigators confirmed, as initially had been suspected, that an e-cigarette packed in a passenger’s checked luggage somehow turned on, causing the fire.
In a letter earlier this week to the Federal Aviation Administration, he expressed concern that the devices can be inadvertently triggered in the normal handling of luggage.
“If this fire had started in the cargo luggage area and was undetected while the plane was in flight, a major tragedy could have occurred,” Coan wrote. “The fire service would like to be assured that the appropriate federal authorities are not only aware of this life safety hazard but are actively taking steps to address it.”
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