A Spirit Airlines flight was safely diverted to Jacksonville, Florida on Wednesday, March 1, after the crew reported a battery fire in an overhead bin.
The Airbus 320 departed Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport on Wednesday around 12:30pm and was headed to Orlando International Airport before the cabin filled with smoke from a personal item that caught on fire in an overhead compartment. The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the incident after announcing the plane landed in Jacksonville with only ten passengers being removed and treated for non-life threatening conditions.
“The plane landed at JAX and taxied to the terminal without incident,” a Spirit Airlines spokesperson said in the issued statement. “We thank our crew and guests for their quick actions to ensure the safety of everyone onboard, and we thank first responders for meeting the aircraft.”
Rocco Chierichella, a retired New York City firefighter was luckily on the plane and rushed to help crew members extinguish the fire, claiming it was instincts and that they “averted a major problem.”
Joseph Fleck, a passenger traveling to Disney World with his spouse and two children, heard someone yell fire. Fleck looked up “to see the cabin filling with smoke very fast,” Fleck noted that he saw a backpack on fire due to a battery pack that had exploded while charging a phone. Fleck instantly took out his phone to capture the hectic scene.
“The smell was terrible and made it very hard to breathe,” Fleck noted, adding that his kids were rightfully emotional but relived once they exited the plane. “I was coughing a lot for a good two hours after.”
Spirit Airlines did not have an additional plane available for passengers impacted by the detour, so Fleck and his family continued to Orlando by Uber, costing them an extra $250, despite the airlines providing refunds and vouchers to passengers.
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