Fire on Southwest Airliner Forces 139 Passengers to Evacuate

SANTA ANA (AP) — A fire on a Southwest Airlines plane forced passengers to evacuate before takeoff at a Southern California airport.

Officials from John Wayne Airport say the crew of the Boeing 737 decided that the 139 passengers should evacuate Monday night, using the aircraft’s emergency slides. They were bound for San Jose.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Allen Kenitzer says the blaze was in the airliner’s auxiliary power unit and was extinguished with the plane’s fire suppression system.

It forced a partial shutdown of the airport’s taxiway, but airport operations are back to normal.