An overhead bin fire erupted mid-flight on a Spirit Airlines flight from DFW International Airport to Orlando International Airport on Wednesday afternoon, injuring passengers and forcing the plane to divert to a nearby airport.
According to Spirit, Flight 259 landed at Jacksonville International Airport following what’s believed to be a battery fire from an item belonging to a passenger that was in an overhead bin. The fire was extinguished inflight.
“The plane landed at JAX and taxied to the terminal without incident,” Michael Lopardi, manager of media relations at Spirit Airlines said in a statement. “We thank our crew and guests for their quick actions to ensure the safety of everyone onboard, and we thank first responders for meeting the aircraft.”
On the plane was Joseph Fleck, a Fort Worth resident traveling to Disney World with his two daughters and wife, when someone on their flight screamed “fire.” He noticed smoke coming out of one of the overhead bins. He said many people on the flight were splashing water on it, trying to extinguish the flames.
Spirit “extinguished it out pretty quick, but there was a lot of smoke in the cabin that they had to take one woman out on a stretcher because of the inhalation of smoke,” Fleck said. “A bunch of people got medical attention. The man who initially went to grab it burned his hand really good.”
He said that he heard it was a battery pack charging a cell phone that exploded and set clothes on fire. Fire officials came aboard, and many passengers were coughing from the smoke. He said once travelers got off the plane, they waited two hours until Spirit told them it was permanently grounded and passengers needed to find another way to Orlando.
The plane was scheduled to land in Orlando at 4:13 p.m. but instead landed in Jacksonville, about 130 miles away, at 3:50 p.m., according to Flightradar24.com.
Spirit is providing vouchers and arranging alternate transportation for travelers to get from Jacksonville to Orlando. Fleck and his family were paying for a $200 Uber to get there because all of the rental cars were booked, he said.
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