Attendant charged after fire on Detroit-bound plane

Jennifer Chambers
The Detroit News

A flight attendant on an American Airlines flight was arrested by the FBI on Tuesday for allegedly starting a fire aboard the plane in a rear lavatory.

Johnathan Tafoya-Montano, was working on the American Airlines flight that was traveling from Dallas to Detroit on Feb. 1, according to FBI officials.

During the flight, Tafoya-Montano reported a fire in a rear lavatory on the aircraft and extinguished the flames, David P. Gelios, FBI special agent in charge, said.

After the fire was reported to the captain, the captain notified the control tower, police said.

The aircraft, already on approach to land at Detroit Metropolitan Airport, was granted emergency status. The aircraft landed without incident and all passengers and flight crew safely disembarked.

An investigation revealed that Tafoya-Montano had set the fire himself, and he eventually admitted to such, Gelios said.

Tafoya-Montano has been charged with destruction of aircraft or aircraft facilities and false statements.

He was released on bond with conditions, which includes a prohibition from flying without permission of the court.

JChambers@detroitnews.com