787 Dreamliner catches fire at London's Heathrow Airport

Heathrow Airport is temporarily shut down as emergency crew respond to a fire involving a Boeing 787 Dreamliner owned by Ethiopian Airlines.

The first Boeing 787 Dreamliner takes off on its initial flight in 2009. Daniel Terdiman/CNET
London's Heathrow Airport was temporarily shut down Friday after a Boeing 787 Dreamliner owned by Ethiopian Airlines caught fire.

No passengers were aboard the aircraft, which was parked far away from the terminals at the time of the incident, according to a tweet posted by airport staff.

The incident marks yet another setback for Boeing's next-generation airliner. The Federal Aviation Administration grounded the entire fleet of Dreamliners worldwide in January following several on-board fires.

A 787 destined for Ethiopian Airlines on Boeing's production line at its Everett, Wash., factory in June 2011. Kent German/CNET

The fires were found to be caused by an issue with the aircraft's lithium-ion batteries. Dreamliner flights resumed in May after Boeing and its suppliers were able to install a FAA-approved fix for the battery systems.

It's unknown whether the batteries are again to blame in Friday's incident involving the Ethiopian Airlines aircraft. Television footage showed the Dreamliner surrounded by foam after a fire crew responded to the emergency.

Heathrow Airport tweeted that it has since resumed flights.

About the author

Desiree Everts DeNunzio is a freelance editor and writer. She's dabbled in digital media and technology for the past decade, including stints at CNET News and Wired magazine. When she's not fiddling with various gadgets, she spends her time running after chickens and her own brood.


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