Spirit Airlines flight makes emergency landing after battery fire

Published: Mar. 2, 2023 at 7:13 AM CST
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (WJXT) - A battery caught fire aboard a Spirit Airlines flight Wednesday, leading to an emergency landing in Jacksonville, Florida.

Cellphone video captured by a passenger on the flight shows crew members and passenger Rocco Chirerichella rushing to put out a fire that broke out while the plane was on its way to Orlando.

“I’m a retired New York City fireman, and I guess it’s just instinct. I got to the, it was a baggage overhead, and smoke was billowing out of it,” Chirerichella said.

Chirerichella and crew members doused the overhead compartment with water and fire extinguisher spray.

“The whole cabin smelled, smoked up, you know, filled up with smoke, and I ripped open the door. One of the attendants came by and yelled, get some water,” Chirerichella said.

The plane eventually made an emergency landing at the Jacksonville International Airport.

Firefighters believe the fire stemmed from a battery in someone’s carry-on.

“You’ve got to realize that the airlines have reasons, rules on batteries, and so forth, and there are reasons for that. Some of these things are very volatile and can cause a fire,” said Captain Eric Prosswimmer with Jacksonville Fire and Rescue.

The fire department said 10 people were taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

“It was lucky we got to it right away so we averted a major problem. It could have been really bad,” Chirerichella said.

Spirit Airlines issued a statement saying in part, “We thank our crews and guests for their quick actions to ensure the safety of everyone onboard, and we thank first responders for meeting the aircraft.”