Mass. fire marshal found vaporizer sparked small blaze in checked luggage; Senator Markey previously called on Dept. of Transportation to finalize rules of e-cigarette use on planes

BOSTON (October 10, 2014) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) today vowed to take action to keep passengers safe from e-cigarette dangers on flights following the finding by Massachusetts Fire Marshal Stephen Coan that an accidentally-activated nicotine vaporizer started a small fire in the luggage hold of a passenger airplane parked at Boston’s Logan airport. Fire Marshal Coan called on the federal government today to take strong action to protect passengers before a similar incident affects a plane in mid-flight.

Senator Markey had previously joined his colleagues to urge the Department of Transportation to finalize rules banning e-cigarette use in the passenger cabins of commercial airplanes. Today, Senator Markey said he would ask the Federal Aviation Administration to investigate whether e-cigarettes should be allowed on airplanes at all, including in the cargo holds, given the risks arising from the Logan incident.

“Just because you don’t light up an e-cigarette doesn’t mean it can’t spark a fire. This troubling incident at Boston’s airport is a warning for the entire airline industry and every person who steps onto an airplane,” said Senator Markey, a member of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee. “Until this fire is fully investigated by the FAA, the agency should consider banning e-cigarettes from the cargo holds of passenger planes before tragedy strikes.”

“Our federal aviation experts and regulators need to take swift and significant action to protect the public,” concluded Senator Markey.

Last year Senator Markey was successful in getting the Transportation Safety Administration to reverse its decision to allow small knives back onto passenger airplanes.