NTSB Identification: ATL99IA015.
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Scheduled 14 CFR operation of DELTA AIR LINES INC.
Incident occurred Sunday, November 08, 1998 in ATLANTA, GA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/14/2001
Aircraft: McDonnell Douglas MD-11, registration: N811DE
Injuries: 4 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various sources and may not have traveled in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft incident report.

During the trip check, airport customer service personnel informed a mechanic that one of the center cargo bay longitudinal spring-lift power drive unit (PDU) powered rollers was inoperative and in the 'up' position. A mechanic, removed the powered rollers from the cargo compartment and did not have the McDonnell Douglas MD-11 Maintenance Manual in his possession at the time. The mechanic, did not open the circuit breaker for the cargo control unit (CCU) that controls the operation of the powered rollers, nor did he tag the system out of service as stipulated in the McDonnell Douglas MD-11 Maintenance Manual. While the mechanic was away from the airplane obtaining a new powered roller, the airport customer service had a crew change. The new crew, unaware that the powered roller cannon plug had been left on the floor of the cargo compartment, began loading cargo bins. The cannon plug was run over and its connecting wires cut by the cargo bins. A Delta technician started the airplane's auxiliary power unit (APU) to provide electrical power to the airplane. Other Delta technicians who were servicing the cabin observed smoke and 4 to 6 inch flames behind a floor vent of the main passenger cabin at row 12. The fire was subsequently extinguished.

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

Failure of the Company's maintenance personnel to follow the aircraft's maintenance manual which resulted in a cargo bin fire. Contributing to the severity of the incident was the failure of the mechanic to safety the circuit breaker, and the cut/severed electrical wiring.

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