787 Dreamliner Fire Breaks Out At Boston's Logan International Airport Terminal; FAA And NTSB To Investigate

on January 07 2013 4:26 PM

A Boeing 787 Dreamliner caught fire at Boston's Logan International Airport Monday after a battery in its auxiliary electric system exploded, officials said.

The 787, which had no passengers on board and was grounded at the terminal, was under a routine post-flight inspection by a Japan Airlines mechanic when the incident was reported to airport authorities around 10:30 a.m. EST.

According to Massport Fire Chief Bob Donahue, as cited by Reuters, a fire crew responded and determined that a battery used to power the plane's electric systems when the engines are not running had exploded.

"Passengers were in no danger as this event had happened at least 15 minutes after they deplaned," Donahue told the news wire.

The fire is the most recent incident to plague the storied 787 Dreamliner, which was also affected by production problems that delayed initial delivery by 3-1/2 years.

Boeing company suffered from the setback as shares fell more than 2 percent to $76.01 amid news of the fire.

Boeing spokesman Marc Birtel told reporters, "We are aware of the event and are working with our customer."

While Reuters goes on to report that the Federal Aviation Administration is looking into what caused the fire, the National Transportation Safety Board also announced it was opening an investigation.

Previous reports indicate that the 787 relies heavily on electrical power to drive onboard systems that in other jet models are run by air pressure generated by the engines.

The aircraft is Boeing's first to be made of carbon composites rather than aluminum, a change that lowers the plane's weight and allows it to burn less fuel.

The 787 made recent headlines after it suffered a string of mishaps with electrical systems. On Dec. 4, a United Airlines flight from Houston to Newark, N.J., made an emergency landing after it appeared that one of its power generators failed. On Dec. 13, Qatar Airways said it had grounded one of its three 787 jets because of the same problem United had experienced. On Dec. 17, United said a second 787 in its fleet had developed electrical issues.

Boeing Chief Executive Jim McNerney last month argued that the 787 has not experienced an unusual number of problems for a new aircraft, Reuters reports.