US considers expanding a laptop ban as lithium battery fires increase – Los Angeles Times

As the U.S. government considers expanding a ban on laptop computers and other electronic devices from the cabins of commercial flights, federal data show that storing such devices in the cargo area of a plane could increase the risk of fires.

Federal Aviation Administration statistics indicate that airplane fires involving lithium batteries are on the rise.

In 2014, the FAA reported that such batteries were responsible for nine fires, extreme heat or smoke on cargo and passenger planes. That number grew to 16 in 2015; 31 in 2016 and 17 in the first five months of 2017.

Most of the fires or overheated devices were doused with water or coffee or sprayed with a fire extinguisher. Three flights were diverted because of battery fires in that period.

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