EDITOR’S NOTE: WestJet originally said no passengers were on the plane at the time. However, an updated statement from the company stated an error was made in its original statement and that “guests were quickly removed from the area.” Global News has reached out to the company to find out how many people were on board the plane.
A conveyor belt fire at YYC Calgary International Airport caused a bit of a stir for passengers waiting to take off Tuesday night.
Liz Robb was at the airport waiting for a connecting flight back home to Ontario when she saw the fire on the tarmac at around 10:30 p.m.
“I was hanging out in a lounge waiting for a later flight when I heard some people talking about fire on the tarmac,” she explained. “So we all got up to look out the window.”
As she watched, Robb began recording the ordeal. She said she could see flames coming from a conveyor belt that moves luggage on and off planes. She said at first, it didn’t seem like a big deal, but then the flames got bigger.
“At first no one was overly anxious,” she said.
Airport staff members then came out and used a hose to blast the fire in an attempt to douse it, but she said those attempts were ineffective. At that point, plumes of smoke were billowing from the conveyor, which was directly next to a WestJet plane.
“You can see in the video. The fire increased.”
Robb said she was recording for about four minutes before fire crews arrived on scene. She said the ordeal was over within about 10 minutes.
“It wasn’t that it was a horrifically poor response time; it just seemed like a bit of a long time. But maybe they delayed contacting them thinking the first two people would have been successful putting it out,” she said.
“The fire department, when they got there, were able to extinguish it quickly.”
Robb added that she didn’t feel at risk at any time. She’s happy no one was injured.
The Calgary Fire Department said it received a call to attend the WestJet terminal at around 10:30 p.m. and the fire was immediately doused.
No damage was reported to the plane and no one was injured. The fire department said passengers were never at risk.
Calgary fire investigators are still investigating the cause of the fire as of Wednesday night.
WestJet said Wednesday it is investigating a fire that happened on a belt loader that was loading bags onto a plane on Tuesday night.
“Emergency crews were called and were able to quickly extinguish the fire, preventing any damage to the aircraft,” spokesperson Lauren Stewart said in an email.
She went on to say the fire caused short delays to three flights, but all operations had returned to normal as of Wednesday morning.
WestJet originally said no passengers were on the plane at the time, but an updated statement said “our flight crew ensured that guests were quickly removed from the area.”
Global News has reached out to WestJet to clarify how many passengers were on board at the time. Stewart said no one was injured.