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Fire aboard Seattle-bound flight from New Jersey causes diversion of plane to Buffalo airport

A credit card reader caught fire aboard a Seattle-bound Alaska Airlines flight Monday morning, prompting the pilot to divert the plane to Buffalo Niagara International Airport.

Alaska Airlines 17 had left Newark Liberty International Airport shortly before 7 a.m. Monday. While airborne, a credit card reader caught fire and was dropped into a galley trash receptacle, where the fire was extinguished, according to C. Douglas Hartmayer, a spokesman for the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority.

Authorities at the Buffalo airport were notified about the planned diversion at about 8 a.m., and firefighters from the facility, as well as from Buffalo and Cheektowaga, were dispatched to the scene.

“The fire was extinguished by the time they got on the aircraft,” Hartmayer said. The plane taxied to a gate, where passengers were taken off so they could be checked out by emergency medical technicians.

“There were no reported injuries at all at this point. The plane landed safely, without incident,” Hartmayer said.

A different plane was sent to the Buffalo airport for the 184 Alaska Airlines passengers.

The five-member crew of the original plane was expected to fly it back to Seattle, Hartmayer added.

Hartmayer said that there were no interruptions to aviation services at the airport while the emergency was handled.