Go Back  PPRuNe Forums > Flight Deck Forums > Rumours & News
Reload this Page >

Credit card reader sparks fire on AS17

Rumours & News Reporting Points that may affect our jobs or lives as professional pilots. Also, items that may be of interest to professional pilots.

Credit card reader sparks fire on AS17

Old 12th Oct 2015, 21:06
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Arizona
Age: 77
Posts: 75
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Credit card reader sparks fire on AS17

Alaska Airlines flight 17, Newark to Seattle, was diverted to Buffalo, NY this morning after a credit card reader started a small fire in the trash bin.

"A credit card reader that was thrown into the trash somehow ignited. The fire was put out using an extinguisher, according to C. Douglas Hartmayer, spokesman for the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority."

There are no indications of any injuries to any passengers or crew members.
Niner Lima Charlie is offline  
Old 13th Oct 2015, 07:22
  #2 (permalink)  
BRE
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Europe
Posts: 256
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Putting it into a trash bin seems exceptionally stupid, at least if there was anything in the bin.

Avherald has it the other way, first it ignited, then they extinguished the fire.
BRE is offline  
Old 13th Oct 2015, 13:28
  #3 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Or-E-Gun, USA
Posts: 326
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Other Reports?

AVH also noted an aircraft swap and an ELEVEN hour delay. For a non-essential device that could be carried off the airplane with one hand? Since the folks that run AS are certainly not fools, there simply be more to this story than the silly reports in the popular press. Does anyone know what Really Happened?
No Fly Zone is offline  
Old 13th Oct 2015, 14:10
  #4 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Oop North, UK
Posts: 3,076
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Lithium battery fires are nasty, the way to sort them is to put them in a bar box or trash bin full of water - that sounds the more likely story.
foxmoth is offline  
Old 13th Oct 2015, 14:19
  #5 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: New England, USA
Posts: 52
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
According to the account I read on ASFlyer, the card reader started to smoke, and "a flight attendant took it to the back galley, placed the the device into a trash bin to contain it, and used a fire extinguisher to suppress any possible fire, while the flight crew declared an emergency and prepared to divert."

Which doesn't seem so unreasonable to me.

As for the delay, "Because the original aircraft no longer had the required minimum number of extinguishers on board and required an inspection due to the overweight landing, a replacement plane was dispatched from Seattle to pick up any remaining passengers who chose to wait for the rescue flight back to Seattle."
wideman is offline  
Old 13th Oct 2015, 14:36
  #6 (permalink)  
BRE
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Europe
Posts: 256
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Sounds more reasonable. However, if the fire was safely extinguished, would one really need to perform an overweight landing just because one of how many fire extinguishers was no longer available? Or was it rather because they were not sure it wouldn't reignite?
BRE is offline  
Old 13th Oct 2015, 14:48
  #7 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Oop North, UK
Posts: 3,076
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I think re ignition may have been the concern
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=gcd34tt8YPU
It then sounds like they may have used enough extinguishers that they no longer had the numbers required to continue with a revenue flight.
foxmoth is offline  
Old 13th Oct 2015, 19:18
  #8 (permalink)  

FX Guru
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Greenwich
Age: 67
Posts: 900
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
It does sound daft to perform an overweight landing because an extinguisher has been used, but then I suppose this is a classic case of safety being expensive while a crash is somewhat more so.
angels is offline  
Old 13th Oct 2015, 19:26
  #9 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Ankh Morpork, DW
Posts: 646
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
FA:

That lithium battery fire is out.
CA:

Are you sure?
FA:

I'm pretty sure.
CA:

Buffalo, it is.
ImbracableCrunk is offline  
Old 13th Oct 2015, 20:35
  #10 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Somerset
Posts: 17
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Back in 1996 I attended a lorry fire on the M5 in Somerset, UK. The cargo included out of service lithium batteries from (the then GKN) Westland Helicopters in Yeovil.

Waste cotton cloth and vegetable oil had spontaneously combusted, leading to some fireworks as the batteries joined in.

The situation was considerably enlivened when the doughty Fire Brigade turned on the the water taps, and the resultant FireMk2 melted the lorry chassis, and a goodly area of concrete underlying the tarmac.

The County's Scientific Services report was that Lithium batteries (in those days) did contain some metallic lithium, and adding water to the burning cargo encouraged the by-product of hydrogen gas by pyrolysis.

I believe that battery chemistry has advanced and water as a fine spray is now considered a suitable extinguishant for modern lithium batteries, though they do burn persistently and at high temperatures.

I'll see what my ex-colleagues' view is on submerging a lithium battery in water.
sarabande is offline  
Old 13th Oct 2015, 23:25
  #11 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: England
Posts: 1,389
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Water might be ok for a lithium battery fire but it's not recommended for electrical fires.
cwatters is offline  
Old 14th Oct 2015, 00:03
  #12 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: UK
Posts: 29
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Is it confirmed this was a lithium battery fire?

Credit card readers also usually contain a thermal printer, which I imagine might be able to malfunction in such a way as to produce smoke or even start a fire under the right conditions.
Mr Magnetic is offline  
Old 14th Oct 2015, 01:10
  #13 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Canada
Posts: 1,257
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
According to Alaska Airlines the smoke "appeared to be (from) the battery compartment of the device".

The Point-of-Sale maker, Toronto-based GuestLogix, has recalled all devices of the same make and model.

Interestingly GuestLogix offers a NiMH battery pack for airlines wishing to replace their Lithium Ion based batteries.

Fire from a thermal printer (other than battery/shortcut issue) is virtually unheard of.
peekay4 is offline  
Old 14th Oct 2015, 10:12
  #14 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: England
Posts: 395
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Cause of incident?

What is actually supposed to have happened? Spontaneous combustion of a lithium-based battery? If that can happen, shouldn't we ban all lithium-based batteries (laptops, tablets, phones ...) because of the danger of spontaneous combustion? If it wasn't spontaneous combustion, then what was the cause and how do we prevent that and other causes from setting off lithium-based batteries, in card readers or other devices?
OldLurker is offline  
Old 14th Oct 2015, 10:49
  #15 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Lanaken, Belgium
Posts: 6
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
QUOTE: Oldlurker, What is actually supposed to have happened? Spontaneous combustion of a lithium-based battery? If that can happen, shouldn't we ban all lithium-based batteries (laptops, tablets, phones ...) because of the danger of spontaneous combustion? If it wasn't spontaneous combustion, then what was the cause and how do we prevent that and other causes from setting off lithium-based batteries, in card readers or other devices? UNQUOTE.

In any case it would be wise for carriers to facilitate a dedicated fire resistant bin large enough to hold at least the size of a laptop to cater for spontaneous combustion of lion battery packs in any device on board.
jossurf is offline  
Old 14th Oct 2015, 10:59
  #16 (permalink)  
Resident insomniac
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: N54 58 34 W02 01 21
Age: 79
Posts: 1,873
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
a dedicated fire resistant bin large enough to hold at least the size of a laptop to cater for spontaneous combustion of lion battery packs in any device on board.
That's all very well, but, once a fire has established (as can be seen in the video) it can be very difficult (and dangerous) to carry a blazing item through the cabin (especially if the item is stowed in an overhead locker).

I believe that Li-On batteries can overheat and catch fire when being charged, but do we know whether the fire in the OP was 'spontaneous' - or when the device was plugged in and charging?
G-CPTN is offline  
Old 14th Oct 2015, 14:08
  #17 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Seattle
Posts: 3,195
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Reports in SEA are that they were using a new type of card reader, and all of them have been pulled out of service.
Intruder is offline  
Old 14th Oct 2015, 14:17
  #18 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Róisín Dubh
Posts: 1,388
Received 11 Likes on 4 Posts
There's been a few instances of passengers' phones slipping down into lie flat business seats and being crushed as they are adjusted, resulting in the lithium batteries going off. They certainly seem to be causing issues. Very difficult to put out. The current recommendation in most places is to totally immerse them in a non flammable liquid, but it's still going to generate on awful lot of heat against the bottom it rests on.
Una Due Tfc is offline  
Old 14th Oct 2015, 17:41
  #19 (permalink)  

Only half a speed-brake
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Commuting not home
Age: 46
Posts: 4,297
Received 3 Likes on 3 Posts
I know of an airline with a simple, but well researched portable electronic device fire/smoke procedure:
Gloves, hood (PBE), Atlas box. Device: insert, flood with water / non-flammable beverages.

Easy does it?
FD.
FlightDetent is offline  
Old 14th Oct 2015, 18:23
  #20 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: UK
Posts: 29
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks PeeKay, it was just a thought... I'm sure that you are right about the incidence of actual fires related to thermal printing but worth noting that the thermal print dye in the paper is usually heated to a temperature of around 250C, albeit for just a few milliseconds.

I've never heard of a fire attributed to this either, although I have heard reports of "smoking" that were never actually pinned down or replicated and could well have an entirely different explanation.

I could certainly imagine the paper being ignited if it somehow became jammed in position and the print head also became locked in the high temperature state... although perhaps the carrier and dye layers may act as a retardant.

Seems like the battery was the culprit on this occasion though. Prompt action from those involed doubtless helped ensure a favorable outcome - well done!
Mr Magnetic is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.