Originally Posted by himespau
Stupid question, but could the pilot have seen a fire the suppression system couldn't stop, turned towards the nearest runway, got the masks to drop and said, "hey everyone, put these ****ers on because we're going to go really ****ing high and try to starve the fire so we don't die"?
Fires on airplanes are scary. There isn't a whole lot you can do with it, you are trapped in an aluminum tube with it while it consumes your air and emits toxic fumes, and you are fanning it with massive airflow if the fire gets exposed to the outside. Two accidents come to mind, first, the Swiss Air 111 crash (Swissair Flight 111 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
) in Nova Scotia and the UPS 6 (UPS Airlines Flight 6 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
) crash in Dubai. Both were fires. The Swiss Air crew entered holding to burn off fuel and ultimately were forced off the flight deck by the fire. The UPS crew made an immediate return but dense smoke made it impossible to see the flight instruments and the jet crashed near the airfield. Both demonstrate how absolutely chaotic and confusing an inflight fire can be with limited options and extremely limited time.
Flight attendants are trained to operate the fire extinguishers and fight the fire while keeping the flight crew informed of what is going on. Flight crews are trained to get the aircraft on the ground as soon as possible. Declare an emergency, point the nose at the nearest suitable airfield, run the airspeed to the upper limit, and get the jet on the ground.
Nowhere in training is it ever suggested to climb to starve the fire or dump the cabin pressure to do the same. The oxygen system for passengers is individual canisters. Remember the flight attendants saying "pull on the mask to start the oxygen flowing"? That pulls a pin on a canister that starts a chemical reaction generating oxygen above your seat and for your row only. These canisters are designed to provide oxygen as the jet executes an emergency descent following a rapid decompression from its highest cruise altitude to 10,000 feet. Run time on the canister is something like 7 minutes (some jets have a 12 minute requirement if they fly over high terrain like Greenland). Flight attendants have oxygen bottles that they carry and flight crew have an independent O2 system but with an even larger supply.
So, for all the "expert" opinion and WAG's (pilot term meaning "Wild A$$ Guess"), what actually happened on that flight deck remains to be see.