Small Fire Tackled On United Airlines Boeing 757 APU In Boston

A United Boeing 757 faced a small fire while on the ground in Boston’s Logan International Airport. The fire occurred in the tail area in the Axillary Power Unit (APU) due to unknown causes. Emergency services quickly put out the flames and no one was injured. Let’s find out more.

UA 757
The 757-200 was at the gate in Boston when the incident occurred with no passengers on crew onboard. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Quick response

According to Boston25 News, a fire broke out in the tail of a United Airlines aircraft while it was parked at the gate on Tuesday, 16th November. The incident occurred due to a section of the APU erupting in flames, leaving part of the tail section on fire. Since this occurred at the airport, emergency services quickly reached the scene and put out the fire before it could pose a further threat to the plane or those nearby.

Notably, it’s unclear what caused the fire in the APU. United has confirmed that there were no passengers or cabin crew onboard at the time, meaning the plane might be empty of undergoing some maintenance. For now, the aircraft has been grounded pending further checks and repairs.

In a statement about the incident, a United spokesperson said,

A 737 [read 757] aircraft experienced a mechanical issue while parked at a gate at Boston Logan International Airport. There were no customers or crew onboard at the time. The aircraft has been removed from service while our maintenance crews evaluate it. We are making alternate arrangements for our customers traveling from Boston to San Francisco on United 477.”

The aircraft

The plane involved in Tuesday’s incident is one of United’s aging Boeing 757-200s. This one was registered N13138, first delivered to Continental Airlines in December 1999 and eventually going to United in 2010, according to The aircraft features 169 seats, with 16 in business/domestic first class and 153 in standard economy.

The plane was set to fly to San Francisco as UA477 at 11:30 AM local time on Tuesday. However, the incident meant the flight was canceled, and all passengers were rebooked onto the next available service or the next day’s flight.

United Boeing 757-200
N13138 is one of 40 752s that fly for United and is on the younger side at 22 years. Photo: Colin Brown via Flickr

Luckily for United, the airline has no shortage of replacement 757-200s. The carrier is sitting on roughly 20 parked jets, which means if N13138 takes a long time to repair, there are enough planes to take over.

Stay informed: Sign up for our daily and weekly aviation news digests.

Fading away

While the 752s are undoubtedly an essential part of United’s operations, the type is fading away. In September, the aircraft only accounted for 1.2% of flights and served on 33 routes, far from its glory days. These days, the plane is a stopgap for United until its 737 MAX 10s and A321neos begin arriving, which can fly similar routes.

There remain three main hubs for the 757-200 today, Newark, San Francisco, and Chicago. The type can be seen flying to Hawaii and Denver domestically and Keflavik, Iceland, internationally. For now, United won’t be missing the 757-200 too much while it remains out of service.

What do you think about United’s 757-200 fleet? Let us know in the comments!