By Evie Carrick
June 13, 2019
Getty Images

A passenger's bag passing through airport security at Yeager Airport in West Virginia on Wednesday ignited and caught fire, in an incident that again shows the potential danger of lithium batteries.

The Associated Press reported that two lithium batteries attached to a charger in the bag were the cause of the explosion. Airport police were able to extinguish the flames, and Yeager Airport reported no injuries or flight delays due to the explosion. Even the passenger whose bag ignited was able to make their scheduled flight.

Yeager Airport Director Terry Sayre told the AP that passengers should review the Transportation Security Administration’s list of prohibited and regulated items before arriving at the airport. According to the Federal Aviation Administration’s battery policy, lithium ion (rechargable) and lithium metal (non-rechargeable) batteries are allowed in carry-on bags, but must be under a certain size or wattage. Loose lithium batteries are prohibited in checked bags.

Although a bag catching fire at an airport security check is unusual, it isn’t the first accidental fire caused by electronics in a passenger’s luggage. In February 2018, a passenger’s phone charger exploded in the overhead compartment causing a fire onboard China Southern Airlines. And in January 2017, a woman’s smartphone caught fire mid-flight.

Advertisement