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Almost a dozen people hospitalized after fire onboard Spirit flight that diverted to Jacksonville

WTLV-TV Jacksonville 3/1/2023 First Coast News Staff

Almost a dozen people were hospitalized after a Spirit flight bound for Orlando made an emergency landing at the Jacksonville International Airport Wednesday afternoon, according to the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department.

The airline says that Spirit flight 259 took off from Dallas at 2:01 p.m. had to land at JIA at 3:53 p.m. due to a battery fire that originated in an overhead bin. 

Spirit says a guest's personal item started the fire.

"There was a retired fireman that jumped up and flight crew came in and they tried putting water on it and another guy went and got a bucket because I think the fireman reached in and grabbed it and they got it put out, but it took about 20 minutes." passenger, Kerri Arakawa, said. 

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JFRD initially said that one person was taken to the hospital from the airport. However, officials say as time went by, more people started feeling ill.

"It was not until almost 6 o’clock that more people started feeling bad, and we then turned it into what we call an MCI level 1," said JFRD Captain Eric Proswimmer. "We ended up transporting a total of 10 patients from this flight.”

JFRD says the 10 patients taken for treatment included crew members. Officials were not able to elaborate on their symptoms due to HIPPA laws but say that all individuals transported are expected to be OK.

Spirit Airlines provided the following statement to First Coast News:

"Spirit Airlines flight 259 from Dallas (DFW) to Orlando (MCO) diverted to Jacksonville International Airport (JAX) following what’s believed to be a battery fire from a Guest item in an overhead bin that was extinguished inflight. The plane landed at JAX and taxied to the terminal without incident. We thank our crew and Guests for their quick actions to ensure the safety of everyone onboard, and we thank first responders for meeting the aircraft. "

JFRD says that crew members onboard were able to take the item that caught fire and extinguish it in a bucket of water.

"The pilot got us out of the air really fast it was exciting and had a really smooth landing of all the things, but it was quite frightening for a little while until we knew we were on the ground and safe." Arakawa said.

The FAA will investigate the fire. A statement was given to First Coast News.

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