Smoke-filled Southwest Flight Evacuated at John Wayne Airport

Early Monday evening, a fire on a Southwest Airlines aircraft at John Wayne Airport prompted an evacuation, with all 139 passengers and five crew members on board forced to use the aircraft’s front emergency slides. 

“Flight 2123 to San Jose had just pushed back about 7:30 p.m. when smoke was detected in the cabin of the Boeing 737,” said Deanne Thompson, John Wayne Airport spokeswoman.

After all passengers and crew were safely off the aircraft, first-responders took a few passengers to the hospital who had sustained minor injuries.

Allen Kenitzer, a spokesman with the Federal Aviation Administration said the fire was in the auxiliary power unit of the aircraft and was extinguished using the plane’s fire suppression system.

The evacuation prompted a partial shutdown of the taxiway at John Wayne Airport but by 9:30 p.m. Monday, Southwest Airlines was working to place the passengers on other Northern California-bound flights and all airport operations resumed as normal shortly thereafter.

As of this writing, Southwest Airlines has not released an official statement about the incident.