On June 18, 1993, at about 1346 eastern daylight time, a McDonnell Douglas DC-9-82(MD-82), N467AA, returned to the Savannah Municipal Airport, Savannah, Georgia, following an in flight engine fire. There were no injuries to the airline transport captain, first officer, four flight attendants, and 127 passengers. The aircraft had minor damage. Flight 383 was conducted under 14 CFR Part 121 by American Airlines, Inc. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time, and an instrument flight rules flight plan was in effect for the scheduled, domestic, passenger flight to Dallas/Fort Worth Airport, Texas. The flight departed Savannah at about 1345.

The captain reported the following: The before starting engines, after start, taxi, and takeoff phases were normal. Approximately one minute after takeoff, the left engine fire warning system activated. The aural fire warning indications were silenced by the first officer using the "fire bell off" button. The power was reduced on the left engine to idle, and the captain was about to read the checklist when a second fire warning activated. The aural warning was again silenced by the first officer. This sequence continued for a total of three or four times, with the first officer silencing the aural warning each time. The left engine fire handle was pulled, and a single extinguishing agent was actuated. The fire warning light extinguished about 2 seconds after the activation of the extinguishing agent. Neither the fire warning light, nor the aural warning activated again during the remainder of the flight. He recalled that after the activation of the fire warning system, a check of the engine instruments revealed nothing abnormal. He performed an uneventful landing on runway 9 at the Savannah Airport. After landing, the aircraft exited the runway, followed by three fire trucks. An initial assessment of the aircraft revealed no evidence of smoke or flames, and the flight crew initiated taxi to the gate. Subsequent communication with the fire trucks revealed that there was visible fire damage to the left engine. The captain stopped the aircraft, and ordered an emergency evacuation. All passengers exited the aircraft via the left and right front door exits. After the evacuation was complete, the aircraft was secured.

The digital flight data recorder (DFDR) from the incident aircraft was removed and sent to the National Transportation Safety Board laboratory in Washington, DC for readout and evaluation. The recovered data revealed that the aircraft was in a climbing left turn, and passing 2,000 feet pressure altitude, when the left engine fire warning discrete activated. The aircraft continued the climbing, left turn until a level off at 2,900 feet was performed. The aircraft then began a descent, and when passing through 2,800 feet (72 seconds after the first fire warning discrete activated) a second fire warning discrete activated. The left fire warning discrete then cycled on and off intermittently. While descending through 1,800 feet, and having just rolled to a wings level attitude, the left engine speeds and exhaust gas temperature (EGT) began decreasing rapidly in a manner consistent with an engine shutdown. This occurred 1 minute and 34 seconds after the initial fire warning activation. The aircraft touched down approximately 5 minutes and 45 seconds after takeoff.

An initial inspection of the aircraft after the incident revealed extensive fire damage to the left engine and nacelle. Several pieces of burned nacelle fragments were found on the landing runway and taxiway. There was no observed damage to the aircraft fuselage.

The left engine was removed from the aircraft and shipped to the American Airlines maintenance facility in Tulsa, Oklahoma for an examination. The examination revealed that there was evidence of a fuel leak at the number 7 fuel nozzle. An examination of the number 7 fuel nozzle revealed the nozzle support mount flange, nozzle support heat shield, and nozzle head swirl vanes had partially melted. A leak and flow check confirmed leakage at the nozzle support-to-head interface. For a detailed description of the engine examination, refer to the Engine Teardown Factual Report, attached to this report.

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