Exploding battery in bag causes brief panic at OIA

Authorities at Orlando International Airport say operations are getting back to normal after brief delays were caused by an evacuation due to a smoking bag.

Shortly after 5 p.m. witnesses reported hearing a loud noise inside the main terminal building in front of a TSA security checkpoint to Gates 1-59. White smoke was then seen billowing out of a bag, and that led to confusion among travelers.

"All the sudden, someone yelled 'Run!' and everybody started running in different directions," explained Susane Pata. "People were really frightened, little kids were really upset, people were running and just completely panicked. No one really knew what was going on, and we were just trying to get out."

In an abundance of caution, passengers inside the terminal were instructed to exit the building while Orlando Police and airport staff investigated. OPD was quick to dispel early rumors of an active shooter and clarified on Twitter that no shots were fired.

"After an investigation, it was determined that a lithium battery inside a camera overheated and exploded. As a result of the incident, a ground stop was issued, and a number of flights were held while passengers were allowed back into the building and security checkpoints reactivated," said airport spokesman Rod Johnson.

No injuries were reported during the incident. Those individuals who were asked to exit the terminal are now having to pass through security checkpoints, which in turn is causing some delays among departing flights.