Plane engine fires like the one at O’Hare quite rare

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CAHOKIA, IL (KTVI) – Large engine fires like the one at O’Hare Airport on Friday afternoon are a very rare occurrence, St. Louis Downtown Airport Fire Department Chief Mike Mavrogeorge said.

American Airline officials said the fire at O’Hare came after a rare uncontained engine failure, which is when engine parts brake off and are spewed outside the engine.

Mavrogeorge said engine technology has come a long way and typically the engines are very safe.

He said there are fire suppression systems inside the engines that pilots can control while in the air and you seldom see a fire of as big as the one at O’Hare.

"When you see a fire like you did at O'Hare today, there was an extreme amount of heat that caused that," Mavrogeorge said. "There had to be some type of malfunction or damage that caused that amount of fuel to burn. When you see that amount of smoke, that is aircraft fuel burning."

Mavorgeorge said the best thing you can do if you are a passenger in that situation is to get off of the plane quickly. Don't try and grab your luggage; just get out of the plane.

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