Upland Fatal Plane Crash

Plane Fire Forces Emergency Landing in Modesto

 Plane Fire Forces Emergency Landing in Modesto

I’m Ed Smith, a Modesto airplane accident lawyer, and I want to inform you about a recent plane accident that forced a commercial jet to land at the Modesto Airport.

What Happened?

On 9 April, Alaska Airlines Flight 3391 made an emergency landing at the Modesto Airport at approximately 6:50 a.m. The flight was forced to land after instruments in the cockpit indicated that there was a fire in the cargo area.

The Modesto Fire Department, Ceres Fire Department, and Stanislaus Consolidated Fire Department all responded to the incident and were waiting when the flight landed. No smoke or fire was visible from outside the aircraft or within the passenger compartment of the plane.

Thermal imaging cameras showed excess heat within the cargo compartment of the plane, confirming that a fire did occur. The plane’s internal fire systems were able to extinguish the flames before they spread to the rest of the aircraft.

What happened to the passengers?

None of the 62 passengers were injured in the accident and all crew members escaped unharmed. Passengers were loaded on buses that took them from the Modesto Airport back to Sacramento International Airport where the plane initially departed.

Common Injuries in Similar Accidents

Fires in aircraft are extremely hazardous to all on board. As the smoke from a fire cannot escape while the plane is in the air, smoke can quickly overwhelm passengers, irritating their eyes and airways. Additionally, people on board an aircraft may suffer burns in the event of a fire. Tragically, in some cases, people may even die in similar accidents.

Many injuries associated with fires on aircraft come from the panic and chaos associated with a plane evacuation. In these cases, people are prone to falling down and either being crushed by other people or breaking a bone. The evacuees may also be struck by emergency apparatus responding to the landed aircraft, as in the case of a 2013 tragedy at San Francisco International Airport where a teenager was accidentally run over by a fire truck.

Cause of the Fire

The cause and the extent of the fire are unknown. The fire was likely caused by something mistakenly placed within the cargo hold or by some problem with the plane itself. The cargo area of a commercial plane is not pressurized like the passenger areas. Certain batteries react poorly to this pressure and may heat up as a result. If one of these batteries was in someone’s suitcase, it could have easily caused a fire.

The fire may have also been caused by an electrical or mechanical issue within the cargo compartment. This is unlikely, though, as damage to any electrical or mechanical system would impact other aspects of the plane’s operations. These changes would have been visible to the pilot and copilot.

Investigation into the Incident

There is no information about an ongoing investigation into the cause of the fire, but the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Administration (NTSB) are likely investigating. Based on recent national security concerns, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) may also be investigating.

Breaking from standard procedures, the NTSB and the FAA have not yet released the preliminary accident report regarding this incident. These reports are typically filed within a few days of the accident, but are sometimes delayed by the severity of the accident.

Northern California Airplane Accident Attorney

I’m Ed Smith, a Modesto airplane accident lawyer.  If you, or someone you love has suffered injuries or passed away in an airplane crash, please call me today at (209) 227-1931 for free, friendly advice. You can also call me toll-free at (800) 404-5400 or reach me online here.

I work with a number of other professionals and experts throughout Sacramento and California to improve each client’s chances of recovering the compensation they deserve for their medical bills, pain, suffering, lost wages, and more.

If you are harmed due to the negligence of someone else, I truly want to help.

I’ve been practicing personal injury law exclusively since 1982. I have assisted families from throughout Northern California obtain compensation for their personal injury and wrongful death cases.

See my Client Reviews on Avvo, Yelp and Google.

I am a California member of Million Dollar Advocates Forum, a community of trial lawyers that have won several million dollar verdicts and settlements.

Look at my successful lawsuits on my Past Verdicts and Settlements Page.


  • http://centralvalleytv.net/news/item/2787-airline-makes-emergency-landing-in-modesto-after-fire-discovered-in-cargo-area
  • http://www.aviationinspector.com/2017/04/alaska-airlines-flight-makes-emergency-landing-sacramento/
  • http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2017/04/09/alaska-air-flight-makes-emergency-landing-in-modesto/
  • http://www.asias.faa.gov/pls/apex/f?p=100:93:22113944078922::NO

Image Credit: By Ahunt (Own work) via Wikimedia Commons


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