No Smoke, No Fire: Faulty smoke detector prompts emergency landing

Daily Mining Gazette/Garrett Neese Houghton County Memorial Airport was the scene of an emergency landing of a 31-passenger SkyWest flight due to a smoke alarm on Wednesday night, but the drama ended shortly after landing when an inspection determined the on-board smoke detector gave a false alarm.

FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP — A faulty smoke detector caused the alarm on a SkyWest Airlines flight Wednesday night that triggered an emergency response, the airline said.

On the approach to Houghton County Memorial Airport Wednesday night, the pilot of SkyWest 5061 declared a emergency after an alarm indicated a possible smoke in a cargo area.

An inspection of the plane upon landing revealed no smoke or fire, said Airport Manager Dennis Hext.

“If you have some kind of an indication, it’s always safer as a precautionary measure to declare an emergency, have emergency personnel standing by, just in case it’s more than it is,” he said. “It’s the smart way of doing business.”

SkyWest spokesman Layne Watson said the smoke detector had been fixed and replaced. The aircraft was moved to the hangar in Chicago and will undergo a final inspection before being returned to service.

The emergency was declared an Alert 3, which prompts action by several Houghton County fire departments, as well as police department, emergency services, Houghton County Sheriff’s Department and Michigan State Police.

The emergency status lasted about five minutes, Hext said.

The MSP and Quincy-Franklin Fire Department had responded to the scene before the alarm was called off, Hext said.

“Once it landed, we realized everyone was safe, we called 911 and told everyone to stand down,” he said.