'Smoking bag' at LAX checkpoint prompts TSA policy questions

- Passengers were making their way through an LAX checkpoint on Tuesday afternoon when they spot one bag that started to smoke!

Those passengers left that checkpoint very concerned after they say that airport officials seemed confused about the whole thing.

Now we're asking questions about the airport and the response.

Lucas Mroczkowski was at the checkpoint to catch a plane to the East Coast. At that time no one knows why the bag is smoking...and the way Mrosekowski describes it, no LAX official seemed too concerned about it either.

"And, then I heard a pop. It wasn’t a bang but a pop. And, then I see a ton of smoke out of a bag. The smoke was reaching the ceiling.” Lucas said, “I look around and see TSA not panicking at all. TSA is just paused, staring...deer in the headlights kind of look.”

LA City Fire reported that it dispatched units to the scene a few minutes later, but by that time - the TSA had cleared the bag.

It turned out that the smoke was caused by overheated lithium batteries in the bag that ended up catching the contents of the bag on fire.

FOX 11's Hal Eisner asked the TSA about protocol. Eisner wanted to know if public safety announcements are first and foremost when smoke is seen in a situation like this. Such announcements were not heard.  

TSA Spokesman Nico Melendez says "It's possible our officers acted calm in the face of pressure because they have experiences like this every day and becoming alarmist is alarming." He adds, "...officers reacted as they've been trained, decisively and immediately."

Lucas Mroczkowski said he would have liked to have heard a little alarm: “TSA never shouted 'hey everybody get out of here…everybody down…everybody evacuate!' - none of that happened.”

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