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Caught on Tape: Two Lithium Battery Fires in 2018

Posted on March 5,2018 by Roger Marks

Two lithium battery fires have been caught on camera recently, as aviation regulators continue to work to prevent these incidents with guidance and regulatory requirements for passengers, crew, and shippers alike.

Battery Toasts TSA X-Ray Machine at Denver Airport

A lithium-ion battery used to power a “vape pen” caught fire in a TSA X-ray machine at the Denver International Airport on January 30. 
According to investigators, a passenger disassembled the vape pen before placing it in his carry-on bag, leaving the lithium-ion battery exposed. Loose lithium-ion batteries can experience short circuits when they contact conductive metals in keys, coins, zippers, etc. When packed outside of equipment, lithium batteries must be protected against short circuit. Travelers can accomplish this by placing spare batteries in a plastic bag. 

WATCH: Check Out Our 5 Lithium Battery Safety Tips on Youtube

 Vape pens, now sold in endless varieties and under an astounding array of brand names and labels, may contain lithium batteries that do not meet UN specifications. What’s more, end users have been known to “customize” these devices with after-market modifications that may impact battery performance and safety. 
Buying from trusted manufacturers is an advisable first step for consumers concerned about lithium battery safety in the home or workplace—but even that won’t prevent every incident.  

Battery Power Bank Delays Flight to Shanghai

On February 25, a lithium battery power bank set aflame in the overhead compartment during boarding of a Shanghai-bound China Southern Airlines flight. Thankfully, the flight was still on the ground at the time, passengers disembarked from the plane, and no one was injured. The flight was delayed for three hours.<  


191 Lithium Battery Aviation Incidents Since 1991

US FAA recently reported that as of January 24, 2018, nearly 191 air/airport incidents involving lithium batteries had been recorded since 1991. Add the two above (and any others you’ve seen since January 24) to get the up-to-date tally.

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