MIAMI – A passenger arriving at Miami International Airport from Boston apologized for leaving a grenade-shaped lighter in his bag, which prompted authorities to evacuate part of the airport Thursday morning.
"Well, first of all, I want to apologize," he said. The man didn't provide his name because he was too busy explaining to police why he had the grenade-shaped lighter in his carry-on bag.
The man told Local 10's Roger Lohse he forgot the lighter was there.
"I asked them, 'What's the problem?' and they refused to tell me," he said. "So I said, 'Is it the lighter? I have a lighter in there,' and that was it from that point on."
The novelty item forced Transportation Security Administrator agents to reroute hundreds of passengers to the other end of Concourse D. No flights were affected but the commotion confused travelers.
"They did not say," said one man who was standing in the parking garage with his luggage. "All they said was there is a threat on the inside so they are telling us to stay on this side."
A member of the Miami-Dade Police Department's bomb squad suited up and x-rayed the item, confirming it wasn't a threat. Passengers were relieved but not amused.
"Was it actually grenade sized? Probably not that clever in a heightened state of alert," said one man when told what happened.
The twin bombings at the Boston Marathon have authorities on edge, but TSA spokeswoman Lauren Stover said the grenade-shaped lighter was reason to react regardless of recent events.
"If your going to an airport, don't bring a grenade lighter because you'll likely miss your flight and cause a disruption at the airport and you may get arrested," she said.
The passenger stopped in Miami on his way to Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
It's unclear why his lighter didn't prompt security concerns when he boarded his flight in Boston. He won't face criminal charges because despite its shape, lighters are not among the TSA's list of prohibited items.
On Christmas Eve, TSA agents found a grenade-shaped lighter on a woman flying to Honduras.