On the same day the FAA inspection was ordered last month, a United Airlines 787 flight from Houston to Newark, N.J., was diverted to New Orleans because of a generator failure. A similar fire broke out during the 787's testing phase in 2010.
"This event occurred in the same avionics bay where they had problems before," said John Hansman, MIT professor of aeronautics and astronautics. "So it raises a lot of questions that will be looked at as quickly as possible."
But Hansman said he believes this is just a new plane built differently with new systems and materials.
"I wouldn't be concerned as a passenger. This is a very good airplane, but it's very advanced. It's pushing the envelope," Hansman said.
Boeing said in a statement that the fire Monday appears to be unrelated to previous incidents involving the Dreamliner.
"Nothing that we've seen in this case indicates a relationship to any previous 787 power system events, which involved power panel faults elsewhere in the aft electrical equipment bay," the statement said in part.
Airlines are buying the new planes because they're cheaper to fly and more efficient, but they're going to sell would-be passengers on feature comforts such as the air itself.
Because the plane is made of plastic, it is more flexible so air pressure inside the plane can be kept higher. The maker says the improvement in air pressure leads to less jet lag, as well as less dry mouth and skin for passengers.
Blake Emery, the director of differentiation strategy for Boeing, told ABC News in November the Dreamliner offers "significant" changes from today's flying experience.
Such changes include windows that are 30 percent bigger and storage bins built to accommodate roll-aboard bags common among today's fliers.