The most recently delivered 787 to Japan Airlines (ZA183, L/N 84, JA829J delivered on Dec. 20, 2012) suffered a small but intense fire in the aircraft's aft electrical bay less than a half an hour after landing at Boston's Logan International Airport. The aircraft had its first flight on Dec. 7, 2012 and conducted 3 test flights after completing final assembly in Everett. The passengers and crew had already deplaned by the time a maintenance worker smelled smoke in the cabin. Mass port and Boston FD responded to the fire to find smoke in the bay and had the fire under control a short time later.
Initial reports indicate that a battery exploded but it unclear if that happened because of the fire or was the cause of the fire. The NTSB has dispatched a team of investigators to Boston to determine the cause. Reports also indicate that there was a minor injury to one firefighter. Jon Ostrower reports in the Wall Street Journal that the fire may have been exacerbated by damage to the LiON battery by a fire ax.
The aft electrical bay has been a source of problems for the 787 since a fire on ZA002 a little over two years ago forced an emergency landing in Laredo, Tx and set back deliveries by 6 months. In the last few months, there has been an increasing number of in service 787s experiencing electrical issues, some in the aft electrical bay. The airlines that have reported electrical issues include United, Air India, Qatar and LAN. Today's fire is by far the most serious of the problems. One cannot ascribe these issues to teething problems as it now seems that the problems may be far more serious than initially thought but hat determination must await the NTSB report.
It is unclear what affect this fire will have on production, testing and delivery of new 787s from Everett and Charleston though ZA512 for ANA did fly not 1 but 2 test flights today well after the fire had occurred. I do suspect Boeing will continue production and testing while the investigation is on going unless the FAA orders a grounding.