A lithium ion battery sparked a fire at an airport security checkpoint.
The drama happened at Denver International Airport after a passenger dismantled his vape pen which was powered by the battery.
It was all caught on video which can be seen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A14iFXKJE4w
It is thought the exposed lithium ion battery made contact with conductive materials in the bag causing the battery to create a short. This then caused the battery to heat up combustible materials within the bag leading to a fire just as the bag passed through an X-ray machine.
Passengers at the security checkpoint fled as the fire burned and security staff used a fire extinguisher to douse the flames within a minute.
The Federal Aviation Authority has banned electronic cigarettes, vaping devices and lithium ion batteries from being placed in bags in aircraft holds, but they are allowed in carry-on bags.
Denver Fire Captain Greg Pixley said: “Something on an aircraft in an overhead bag storage area might be catastrophic. We’re lucky that didn’t happen here.”
* Several major airline companies now use AvSax fire containment bags in case electronic devices catch fire mid flight.
They are used to deal with burning electronic devices ranging from laptops and mobile phones to e-cigarettes.
They were deployed on aircraft 20 times in 2017.
If an electronic device starts to seriously overheat or emit smoke the cabin crew will pour at least two litres of water into an AvSax and then drop the burning device into the bag, adding additional water as required. The water activates the polymer gel inside the bag causing it to expand around the device. Should the device keep on venting then the AvSax is tough enough to absorb the force.
The AvSax cools the batteries in the device, reducing the likelihood of the battery catching fire but if it does go into what is known as thermal runaway when all the battery cells catch fire at incredibly hot temperatures it is all contained within the bag.
Amazingly, the water is absorbed into the internal lining of the bag so the device is dry when it is removed.