It happened shortly after a Southwest Airlines flight departed from the Raleigh-Durham airport Monday night.
"All of a sudden I heard a boom...vibration, rattling. People were saying,'Oh my God, it's a fire!' one passenger said.
The crew was able to shut down the affected engine of the Boeing 737 and make a safe emergency landing.
The jet was headed for Chicago's Midway Airport, but it was taken out of service for inspection and any necessary repairs.