Boeing 787 battery fire was difficult to control through intense smoke, documents show

The National Transportation Safety Board has released 547 pages of reports and supporting materials about its investigation of the January airplane battery fire in Boston that led to the grounding of the Boeing 787.

The documents show firefighters struggling to tame a small but worrisome fire.

The smoking, hissing battery smouldered inside the belly of the parked 787 in Boston. When firefighters tried to take the battery off the plane, its six bolts held it fast. Firefighters tried a pry bar, but the battery wouldn’t budge.

They finally cut it loose with a battery-operated tool and, using straps, hauled the 63-pound battery about 50 feet from the plane.

Another smouldering battery nine days later in Japan prompted the grounding of 50 787s worldwide. Investigators still don’t know the root cause.