NTSB Identification: DCA96MA079.
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Nonscheduled 14 CFR (D.B.A. FEDERAL EXPRESS )
Accident occurred Thursday, September 05, 1996 in NEWBURGH, NY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/08/1998
Aircraft: McDonnell Douglas DC-10-10CF, registration: N68055
Injuries: 2 Minor,3 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators traveled in support of this investigation and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The airplane was at FL 330 when the flightcrew determined that there was smoke in the cabin cargo compartment. An emergency was declared and the flight diverted to Newburgh/Stewart International Airport and landed. The airplane was destroyed by fire after landing. The fire had burned for about 4 hours after after smoke was first detected. Investigation revealed that the deepest and most severe heat and fire damage occurred in and around container 6R, which contained a DNA synthesizer containing flammable liquids. More of 6R's structure was consumed than of any other container, and it was the only container that exhibited severe floor damage. Further, 6R was the only container to exhibit heat damage on its bottom surface, and the area below container 6R showed the most extensive evidence of scorching of the composite flooring material. However, there was insufficient reliable evidence to reach a conclusion as to where the fire originated. The presence of flammable chemicals in the DNA synthesizer was wholly unintended and unknown to the preparer of the package and shipper. The captain did not adequately manage his crew resourses when he failed to call for checklists or to monitor and facilitate the accomplishment of required checklist items. The Department of Transportation hazardous materials regulations do not adequately address the need for hazardous materials information on file at a carrier to be quickly retrievable in a format useful to emergency responders.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

an in-flight cargo fire of undetermined origin. (NTSB Report AAR-98/03)

Full narrative available

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