Exclusive “9-1-1” season 7 premiere preview has the 118 diffusing an “explosive” situation: Watch the clip

"That story was actually based on a thing that happened," co-creator Tim Minear says of the first emergency of the season.

9-1-1 season 7 is starting out with a bang — or at least the potential for one.

In tonight's premiere episode, the first since the series moved from Fox to ABC, the station 118 firefighters are tasked with rescuing a man stuck in his recliner after a fighter pilot crashes into his home during a test flight. While the missile attached is not armed with a bomb, it is still capable of exploding at any moment with a blast large enough to take down the house, and anyone inside it.

"That story was actually based on a thing that happened," 9-1-1 co-creator and season 7 showrunner Tim Minear tells Entertainment Weekly. "A military pilot who was on a training mission and he had to bail out of the plane, and then the plane stopped transmitting because it thought it was in enemy territory. That just felt like a tailor-made story for our show."

"In real life, it took them much, much longer to find where that plane finally went down," Minear continues. "And it didn't land in anyone's house or anything, but, of course, I can't just have it land in that field or something."

With Bobby (Peter Krause) off on his belated — and ill-fated — honeymoon with Athena (Angela Basset), interim 118 captain Hen (Aisha Hinds) must lead Chimney (Kenneth Choi), Buck (Oliver Stark), and Eddie (Ryan Guzman) through the emergency. And EW has an exclusive sneak peek at the scene above.

With the pilot (played by Mark Lawson) being tended to by a medical team nearby, he coaches Eddie on what to do — but his directions keep changing, possibly a side effect of his rapid drop from 10,000 ft.

<p>Disney/Chris Willard</p> Aisha Hinds, Oliver Stark, and Ryan Guzman in the '9-1-1' season 7 premiere.

Disney/Chris Willard

Aisha Hinds, Oliver Stark, and Ryan Guzman in the '9-1-1' season 7 premiere.

While Eddie focuses on the missile, Chimney is monitoring the man in the recliner, which will lead him to question how to keep the spark alive with fiancée Maddie (Jennifer Love Hewitt). And while the episode is titled "Abandon 'Ships," Minear wants to assure viewers that there is nothing to worry about between the firefighter and 9-1-1 dispatcher.

"I thought it was a great way to kind of start something for Chimney, something light, something fun. I didn't want to give Maddie and Chimney a lot of angst in this first episode," says Minear. "In fact, my intention was to just give every character a moment to shine on screen, to kind of reintroduce them. We are going to ABC, and it felt like if there are new viewers who might want to get into the show, so I wanted to make sure that they understood the dynamics of all the characters, what they did for a living."

"We're not The Love Boat. We're not a show about a cruise ship," Minear adds, referencing the amount of the premiere that is spent with Athena and Bobby at sea. "We're a show about first responders. Two of them happened to be on a cruise ship in the first three episodes. So [the plane crash] just felt like an exciting case for us to have in the first episode. And it plays into the title of the episode: The first case is about a pilot who has to abandon his ship later. Later, there will be other people who are on more of an aquatic type ship who will feel like they need to abandon that ship."

Hopefully only one of those situations involves an explosion.

9-1-1 season 7 premieres tonight, Thursday March 14, at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.

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