As the passengers were running from the Checkpoint one of our TSA officers heard the explosion and saw the smoking bag.
The event caused a panic at the airport and major travel delays as a full ground stop was issued at 5:30 p.m. and not lifted until 9 p.m., the Orlando Sentinel reported. Security officer Ricado Perez - a 20-year army veteran - then rushes in to carry the bag to a less-populated area.
The TSA commended the agent, saying he ran the bag away even as panicked passengers "knocked over the queuing stanchions and dropped roller bags, creating loud banging sounds which were perceived as gunshots, further spreading panic throughout the airport".
"In between the pillars in hopes that if it would go off it would be able to have some of the shock absorbed by the pillar and the concrete posts", said Perez.
"When I picked up that bag, I did think, 'Yep, this is it", Perez told WESH 2.
The TSA agent may have put himself in harm's way but feels no regrets for his actions. Once the situation was cleared all passengers had to return and go through the screening process again, creating delays for hours.
Brown said in the letter that emergency staff tried to restore calm "but as everyone is aware, a few trying to communicate a message to this large of a mass is a daunting task".
"Others hearing the luggage being dropped, stanchions falling, and rapid movement mistook the sounds as gunfire and within seconds a spontaneous evacuation of the main terminal occurred", Brown said in the letter.
Numerous flights were delayed due to the incident.
The FAA already has a ban on uninstalled lithium-ion batteries inside of checked baggage.
While the bag with the camera began to smolder, no injuries were reported.