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Onboard fire raises new concerns over Boeing 787 safety

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AIRLINE SAFETY. Fire broke out on an empty Boeing 787 Dreamliner jet, parked at a gate in Boston on Monday, putting safety concerns about the new, carbon-composite jet back in the spotlight and drawing attention from federal investigators, the Reuters news agency reported. No one was injured in the incident.

A mechanic inspecting the jet discovered smoke in the cockpit while performing a routine post-flight inspection and reported it to authorities at Boston’s Logan International Airport, officials said to Reuters.

Boeing’s newest model has been hit by a number of incidents since it entered commercial service in late 2011, and suffered an electrical fire that grounded the test fleet in 2010, the Washington Post reported. The Dreamliner is the first jet with a fuselage made chiefly of composite materials instead of aluminum and has more electrically operated systems than other airliners.

ABC News Japan Airlines 787 catches fire

The Massachusetts Port Authority’s fire chief, Bob Donahue, said to ABC News the fire began in a battery pack for the plane’s auxiliary power unit, which runs the jet’s electrical systems when it’s not getting power from its engines.

The flight landed incident-free around 10:15 a.m., ABC News reported. Minutes later, a mechanic observed smoke billowing from electrical systems in the belly of the plane.

“We observed a heavy smoke condition throughout the entire cabin,” Donahue said to the TV news channel.

Fire crews using infrared equipment found flames in a small compartment in the plane’s belly and had the fire out in about 20 minutes, he said. There was a flare-up later when a battery exploded, he added.

The editor of the Traveling Reporter works as a business news editor, and is a frequent traveler. When not doing any of that, he spends time on his boat and tries to figure out where to travel next. Two of his top destinations are the Philippines and San Francisco. Email Erik! Follow the Traveling Reporter at Stumbleupon, Tumblr, Chime In, Pinterest, Google+, Weibo, Storify, Facebook, Traveldudes, Myspace.