Electronic cigarettes cause FedEx MD-11 fire

Thumbnail image for e-cigarette fire.jpg

Electronic what???? Yup, cigarettes, and I had never heard of them until today. Perhaps you had.

Well you’ve probably heard about the FedEx MD-11 incident at Minneapolis-St Paul on 14 August. After landing the crew had a lower forward cargo fire warning. They discharged the halon bottles and called the firefighters who eventually found a cargo container on fire – I mean with actual flames coming out of it. They used about 200gal of water to extinguish it.

What they found inside was a shipment of about 1,000 of theaforementioned e-cigarettes which are powered by lithium batteries anduse liquid tobacco to provide the desired kick allegedly without beinga fire hazard. The promoters suggest they can be legally used inbuildings where smoking is banned and in aircraft.

They work like this:


And if they catch fire they look like this:


And they leave FedEx luggage containers looking like this:

e-cigarette fire.jpg

Nowimagine if this situation had arisen in-flight with no firefighters toget involved. Probably the halon system would have handled it. Probably.

Asit turns out, my colleague Barbara Cockburn is in fact familiar withe-cigarettes. I’ve got no reason to believe the ones being discussedhere are the same make as the ones in the MD-11.

ALPA says this is the third lithium battery fire on aircraft in twomonths and it’s had enough. It wants their shipment in aircraft banneduntil we can work out a way of doing it safely. You can entirely seetheir point of view.

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17 Responses to Electronic cigarettes cause FedEx MD-11 fire

  1. chris nunn August 27, 2009 at 10:14 am #

    just for info Ryanair sell elctric cigarettes on their flights

  2. power factor panel August 27, 2009 at 1:09 pm #

    now i knew the about Electronic cigarettes

    its very interesting

  3. Mary Kirby August 27, 2009 at 9:58 pm #

    I’m gutted to learn you haven’t been reading every blessed word on my blog. We tackled this timely issue months ago.


  4. Don Elliott, 206 September 1, 2009 at 7:37 pm #

    Was the shipment properly declared as hazardous material?? Are Lithium batteries hazardous material?

  5. hala September 2, 2009 at 8:13 am #

    I think its a very interesting article, lithium batteries are cosidered as dangerous goods and once they are transported by air, special arrangements should be made to avoid accidents such this one..
    and recently U.S issued new law concerning lithium battery air trnsport.

  6. Electronic Cigarettes September 6, 2009 at 2:06 am #

    I didn’t know an e-cigarette could do that.

  7. E Cigarette November 23, 2009 at 4:18 am #

    Ive never heard of electronic cigarettes catching on fire before.. but i guess anythings possible.

  8. Electronic Cigarette December 18, 2009 at 12:40 pm #

    Electronic cigarette, or also known as e-cig or an e-cigarette, is the world’s smallest form of a vaporizer. Unlike herbal vaporizers, the electronic cigarette is designed to vaporize glycerin-based liquids such as propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin. The electronic cigarette consists of 3 parts;rechargeable battery, atomizer, and a cartridge. When a user inhales on an electronic cigarette, the movement of air is detected by a micro sensor which activates the heating element, also known as the atomizer. The atomizer heats up the cartridge containing liquid, which turns into vapo

  9. Electonic Cig January 6, 2010 at 3:05 am #

    Is there any label in it? how the fire started? It seems it’s company lack too.

  10. Alex elektrische Zigarette January 20, 2010 at 2:02 pm #

    I think the biggest advantage of the e cigarette is definately that you dont bother other people with your smoke anymore. I often felt bad for “poisoning” other people with my smoke.

    I wonder why the FDA is causing troubles with the e cigarette. Its a great tool for many smokers to slowly quit. Just reduce the dose nicotine once in a while until you reach zero.

    Created my own small german blog about the e cigarette. Its not very popular here yet. Might be the only e smoker here in germany haha.

    Thanks for your article. Love your blog keep it up!

  11. buy electronic cigarette September 11, 2010 at 1:27 am #

    I think it is pretty rare for an ecig to do this. Real cigarettes are much more likely to start fires anyway. Just wait, vapin is gonna be huge!

  12. ecigs September 16, 2010 at 8:55 am #

    That’s why good ones have fire protection in their battery

  13. Kieran Daly April 7, 2013 at 11:13 pm #

    Sorry, Mary who? ;-)

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    Cause of disease when you decide to smoke will still be there. But at least the emerging disease can be minimized along with the type of cigarette used.

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