Holy Smoke! Indianapolis TSA officers respond to fiery situation

Wednesday, March 11, 2020
Smoke from a checked bag at Indianapolis International Airport

TSA officers at Indianapolis International Airport were shocked when they noticed flames billowing from the belt just outside a bag room.


Turned out that a passenger’s checked bag caught fire shortly after leaving the ticket counter on the airport’s inline baggage system.


Lead TSA officer Nickolas Thornburg described his experience, saying, “I look outside the inspection room and see a bag fully engulfed in flames on the belt that comes into the room. At first glance I did not believe my eyes.”


Officers raced to put out the bag with the room’s fire extinguisher.


“While my coworkers took the fire extinguisher and put the fire out, I ran and made the appropriate phone calls and notified our coordination center and my supervisor,” said Thornburg.


The fire was contained and the bag was removed from the belt with a shovel. Some of the burning items fell to the ground before reaching the bag room and were extinguished by baggage handling service personnel. Airline personnel talked to the passenger, who chose to continue to his destination.


The passenger was carrying an e-cigarette in the bag, along with a PlayStation and controllers and a laptop. Inside the PlayStation controllers were rechargeable lithium ion batteries, which likely caused the fire.