Samsung Galaxy A21 fire on a plane: Should you worry? [UPDATE: Comment from airport authority]

Chris Burns - Aug 25, 2021, 10:31am CDT
Samsung Galaxy A21 fire on a plane: Should you worry? [UPDATE: Comment from airport authority]

A Samsung Galaxy A21 “caught on fire” in the cabin of an airplane that’d landed in Seattle this week. The Alaska Airlines flight took off from New Orleans and landed at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in the evening of August 24, 2021. The smartphone model in question has not had any previously reported incidents of this sort.

As reported by the Seattle Times, the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport released data on the situation shortly after the incident occurred last night. An initial report suggested that the fire started in the cargo hold of the airplane, but it was later clarified that the incident occurred in the aircraft cabin. The incident occurred onboard Alaska Airlines Flight 751.

It was reported that the Port of Seattle Fire Department contained the fire upon arrival and both crew and passengers were evacuated from the aircraft. TO BE CLEAR: The incident occurred once the flight was already landed.

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport reported that busses transported passengers to the terminal and that some passengers had “minor injuries.” Another clarification was released after the initial report, suggesting that “only minor scrapes and bruises were reported.” It’s likely the injuries occurred in the scramble to contain the fire – but we will see!

We’ve sent some questions to the Seattle Port Authority to see if we can get some clarification on how the far started. In the past, fires such as this have most commonly occurred when a smartphone owner was charging their device with a charging device and/or charging cord made by a company other than that of the smartphone itself.

UPDATE: Asked whether details about the device’s state at the time of the incident (specifically whether the device was plugged in at the time), Seattle-Tacoma International Airport media relations manager Perry Cooper said, “I’m not familiar that we went into that kind of detail. This is not an active investigation for Port Police as there is no criminal violation. Our FD arrived after the device was extinguished and the call for evacuation of the plane was made by the pilot.”

Should you worry?

Whether you own a Samsung Galaxy A21 or not, chances are you’re not in imminent danger of a smartphone fire. Assuming you’re charging your smartphones away from water, with cords and charging devices made by brands that you trust – you should be fine. Incidents like these are scary, but they’re very, very rare.

The absolute best way to avoid any sort of potential for fire in a smartphone is to make sure you’re not leaving said device charging for long periods of time in a place or space you cannot address. Like deep inside your backpack, connected to a charging cord which, in turn, is connected to a battery charger device, the lot of which can get very hot even out in the open air. Just be aware of the risks and you should be OK.


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