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Another Battery Fire On Board an Aircraft

July 14th, 2010 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: DOT/UN, HazMat, Safety

D & M Custom Injection Molding Corp. of Burlington, Ill gave a five-piece shipment of approximately 2,000 smokeless cigarettes to Federal Express, for transportation by air, from Indianapolis to Minneapolis-St. Paul, Aug. 14, 2009. Each smokeless cigarette contained alcohol — a flammable liquid, and a lithium battery — a hazardous material. The Federal Aviation Administration is proposing a $168,000 civil penalty against the company for alleged violations of DOT Hazardous Materials regulations. Each box contained 400 E-Mysticks, including 7.6 kilograms of lithium batteries, exceeding the five-kilogram limit for shipment aboard passenger aircraft. Because the shipment was not packaged in accordance with regulations, it is forbidden on all aircraft, including all-cargo flights. As the flight approached Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, the FedEx flight crew received a fire warning on the instrument panel. The crew discharged the fire suppression system during the landing and taxied to the gate. The airport fire department responded and extinguished a fire in an LD3 cargo container. The fire was started by the lithium batteries in the shipment. DOT continues to monitor lithium battery shipments as a high priority dangerous goods concern. In this case, FAA is also indicating their concern with this substantial fine. Shippers — be aware that lithium battery shipments are regulated and must comply with the dangerous goods requirements.

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