Fire official: British Airways jet at 100 mph as flames erupted - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Fire official: British Airways jet at 100 mph as flames erupted

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Smoke damage remained on a British Airways flight that was grounded at a McCarran Airport on Sept. 9, 2015. (Justin Grant/FOX5) Smoke damage remained on a British Airways flight that was grounded at a McCarran Airport on Sept. 9, 2015. (Justin Grant/FOX5)
A passenger photo shows smoke from a fire apparently on a British Airways flight on the McCarran Airport tarmac on Sept. 8, 2015. (Source: Twitter/David L. Somers) A passenger photo shows smoke from a fire apparently on a British Airways flight on the McCarran Airport tarmac on Sept. 8, 2015. (Source: Twitter/David L. Somers)
Smoke bellows from the British Airways flight that caught fire before takeoff at McCarran Airport on Sept. 8, 2015. (FOX5 ReportIt user Becky Barus) Smoke bellows from the British Airways flight that caught fire before takeoff at McCarran Airport on Sept. 8, 2015. (FOX5 ReportIt user Becky Barus)
LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -

A British Airways jet was traveling at 100 miles per hour during its takeoff from Las Vegas when a fire was spotted on one of its engines, according to a fire official during a briefing on Tuesday's emergency on the tarmac.

On Wednesday, Clark County Fire Department discussed its response and handling of the engine fire on a Boeing 777-200 that took place Tuesday afternoon at McCarran International Airport.

According to CCFD Chief Greg Cassell, a crew from McCarran's on-field fire station arrived 45 seconds after the original fire call went at 4:13 p.m. The flames were out and all people were evacuated from the plane by 4:18 p.m.

Twenty-seven people had minor injuries, with most stemming from the evacuation down inflatable chutes, Cassell said. A couple of people complained of smoke inhalation, but Cassell believed those complaints were from existing breathing issues.

A preliminary investigation determined the jet's number one engine caught fire during its departure roll. CCFD said the aircraft was traveling at 100 miles per hour before brakes were applied just as flames were spotted.

During the briefing, CCFD touted preparation specifically focused on large jets, such as the Boeing 777. In fact, an emergency training scenario with a 777 took place just a couple of days before the British Airways incident, according to CCFD Capt. Mike Ashby. In their training, firefighters' primary goal is to make sure the fire is extinguished and passengers have a safe route to escape.

The CCFD briefing also came on the same day that a National Transportation Safety Board team arrived to investigate the jet. The federal agency said it sent a team of four investigators to McCarran.

The airline said 13 customers who were sent to the hospital following the fire were already treated and released.

On Tuesday night, just hours after the emergency, Rosemary Vassiliadis, the Clark County Director of Aviation, spoke on the incident.

According to Vassiliadis, the aircraft was taxing to its departure point just after 4 p.m. Tuesday, when the left engine caught fire. Pilots halted the departure, called for firefighters and began evacuating passengers and crew.

Thirteen crew members and 159 passengers used inflated emergency slides to evacuate Flight 2276, Vassiliadis said.

Vassiliadis said that firefighters were able to extinguish the blaze in about five minutes.

Yolanda Heeser watched the scene unfold after her flight had been canceled.

"We were watching them as they first started getting them off, and I can't even begin to imagine what it would be like - that fear - because they had already let the slides out so people could escape," Heeser.

Anglica Abarca was eating across the street when the fire happened.

"I was wondering if the plane had exploded or something," Abarca said. "We were just eating and saw the dark cloud of smoke."

Vassiliadis said the airplane was towed to a parking area at the airport, where NTSB investigators can inspect it.

Passengers affected by the fire have been placed in nearby hotels by the airline.

Friends and family of those aboard the flight who have questions can call British Airways at 800-654-3246.

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