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Vaping device cause of fire that sent hundreds of passengers, TSA agents running at Denver airport

Posted at 3:00 PM, Feb 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-23 19:48:00-05

DENVER — A passenger’s vaping device is being blamed for a fire that disrupted operations at Denver International Airport last month.

According to a Friday release from the Denver Fire Department, the dissembled device was inside the passenger’s travel bag when it caught fire as it passed through a TSA X-ray machine in the south checkpoint the evening of Jan. 30.

The screening process was not a contributing factor in the fire, the release said.

Airport officials released surveillance video of the incident Friday. The video, viewable above, shows a crowded security line just before the fire sent hundreds of passengers and TSA agents running.

The fire was quickly put out by using a nearby portable fire extinguisher. However, the incident prompted DIA officials to temporally halt train service and security screening, causing significant delays throughout the airport.

Fire investigators say the device’s exposed lithium-ion battery likely made contact with conductive materials in the bag, causing the battery to create a “dead short.” The short caused the battery to heat up combustible materials within the bag, leading to the fire.

The fire was determined to be accidental, and no charges were filed.

The FAA prohibits electronic cigarettes and vaping devices in checked bags, but the agency does allow the devices to be carried in a carry-on bag. However, many airlines have policies regarding the possession or use of these devices onboard aircraft.