An e-cigarette was the cause of a temporary airport evacuation at Boston Logan International Airport. When airport workers noticed a checked suitcase was smoking, staff working in the checked baggage screening room were immediately removed.
Luckily, the workers noticed the smoke right before putting the suitcase on a plane. Massport Fire & Rescue and a state police bomb unit determined that a lithium battery used to charge the e-cigarette caused the luggage to smoke.
TSA posted a video of the smoking bag on Twitter. The owner of the bag was traveling to Kansas City and after a thorough search, the bag was determined to be safe. “TSA is focused on ensuring that nothing catastrophic occurs on an airplane, and so, of course, a suitcase that has smoke emitting from it is definitely suspicious,” TSA said in a statement.
Lithium batteries can cause severe damage. Since 1991, there have been close to 200 reported lithium battery incidents. Experts advise travelers not to carry such items but if you must, keep them in your carry-on so you can keep an eye on it. Laptops, phones, and tablets have been the cause of many accidents and deaths. To avoid an incident, travelers should never travel with a damaged or defective battery. When packed outside of equipment, lithium batteries have to be protected against short circuiting. Also, make sure that the battery is installed the right way. A properly installed battery lowers the risk of fire.
There have been a number of batteries exploding on planes this year alone. A vape pen caused a TAS x-ray machine to catch fire at Denver International Airport in January. According to reports, a passenger took the pen apart before he put it in his carry-on, leaving the lithium battery exposed. In February, a lithium battery power bank caught on fire on a China Southern Airlines flight to Shanghai, delaying the flight for three hours.