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Woman suffers from burns after cellphone caught fire on Air Canada plane

The incident happened around 7 a.m. Thursday on a flight from Toronto to Vancouver. While the woman suffered first-degree burns and was taken to hospital, passengers did not have to evacuate and the plane did not sustain damage

March 1, 2018  by Salmaan Farooqui, The Canadian Press

TORONTO—A woman suffered burns to her hands after her cellphone caught fire on an Air Canada flight while it sat on the tarmac in Toronto, the airline said Thursday.

The incident happened around 7 a.m. as the plane was at the gate before its scheduled departure to Vancouver from Pearson International Airport, said Air Canada spokesperson Peter Fitzpatrick.

Fitzpatrick said the fire was immediately put out and the plane’s 266 passengers did not have to evacuate.

“It was very contained,” he said. “However customers seated around the incident were invited to deplane so we could clean up the residue from the extinguisher.”


Paramedics said the woman suffered from first-degree burns and was transported to a local hospital.

The flight was able to take off for Vancouver after a two hour delay, Fitzpatrick said.

The plane, one of the airline’s new Boeing 787 dreamliner models, did not sustain any damage in the incident.

Robin Smith, a spokesman for the airport’s operator, said that while they haven’t heard of any phone-related fires at Pearson in the past year, phones catching fire are not entirely unheard of.

“In general terms, they’re not uncommon, because there have had to be rules made for the Samsung Galaxy Note 7,” said Smith, referencing a phone that was recently banned from certain flights because of a risk of catching fire.

“Lithium battery volatile problems are enough of an issue that it’s a common topic of discussion and you see photos popping up online.”

It wasn’t immediately clear what type of cellphone was involved in Thursday’s incident.

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