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4 people taken to hospital after battery fire forces United flight to return to San Diego

Battery fire forces United flight back to airport
Laptop battery fire forces United flight back to California airport 01:52

A small fire on a United Airlines flight bound for Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey forced the plane to return to San Diego International Airport shortly after takeoff. 

The Boeing 737 returned to the California airport around 7:30 a.m. Pacific time after the flight's crew "reported a laptop on fire in the cabin," according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

The San Diego Fire Department told CBS News in a statement that the cause of the fire was an "external battery pack." United said in a statement that the battery pack "ignited," but it was not clear why the device caught fire. 

Flight crew put the burning object in a fire bag to prevent the fire from spreading, the department said. The fire did not spread to the plane. 

"We thank our crew for their quick actions in prioritizing the safety of everyone on board the aircraft," United said. 

Four people who were on the plane were taken to the UC San Diego Medical Center, the fire department said on Twitter. According to United, all were flight attendants who were transported to the hospital "as a precaution." 

Two other passengers were evaluated onsite, United said, but declined transportation to the hospital, according to the fire department. All other passengers and crew members aboard the plane were evaluated, the fire department said. 

United said that the airline was "making arrangements to get our customers to their destinations." 

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