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The wiring loom to the 'No Smoking/Fasten Seatbelt' signs in the aircraft's 'C' zone became pinched and chaffed between the stowage bin and the fuselage frame. As a result of that contact, the wiring insulation had been progressively abraded until the conductors made contact with the metal frame, resulting in electrical arcing.

Pinching of the wiring loom most likely occurred when the stowage bins had been installed during the last 'D' check in October 2002.

Neither the aircraft maintenance manual, nor the operator's task card detailing installation of the overhead bins, call for inspection of the wiring looms and other components in the area of the stowage bins to ensure their adequate clearance from the bins.

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