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At top of descent to Los Angeles, the cabin crew of the Boeing 747 aircraft reported smoke and fumes emanating from the cabin ceiling located in the vicinity of the rear right side (R5) emergency exit door. Smouldering paper tissues were found in an overhead light fitting. Cabin crew removed the tissues and discharged a fire extinguisher onto the light fitting, tissues, and surrounding area. The cabin crew remained in the vicinity and monitored the area until passengers disembarked at Los Angeles.

The company reported that the light fitting is a "night light" and is always "on". The light has a blue plastic cover that should always be in place, but was not fitted on this occasion.

The investigation was unable to determine why, or by whom, the tissues were placed in the light fitting.


The company issued an "Important Information" bulletin to flight attendants advising that any visible cabin light fitting must have a protective grill or glass covering the bulb.

General details
Date: 22 February 2001 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 0500 hours UTC  
Location   (show map):111 km E Los Angeles, Aero. Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: International Occurrence type: Smoke 
Release date: 08 August 2001 Occurrence class: Operational 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Incident 
 Highest injury level: None 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: The Boeing Company 
Aircraft model: 747 
Aircraft registration: VH-OJJ 
Serial number: 24974 
Type of operation: Air Transport High Capacity 
Damage to aircraft: Nil 
Departure point:New York, USA
Destination:Los Angeles, USA
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Last update 13 May 2014