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Travelers doused after LAX water pipe breaks

Fire sprinklers at a Los Angeles International Airport terminal turned on Sunday after a water pipe broke, dousing passengers waiting for flights or picking up their bags.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Fire sprinklers at a Los Angeles International Airport terminal turned on Sunday after a water pipe broke, dousing passengers waiting for flights or picking up their bags.

Terminal One was temporarily evacuated, and the baggage claim and screening areas experienced minor flooding, said airport spokesman Marshall Lowe.

Lowe didn't know how long the sprinklers were on or how many people got wet, or have any damage estimates to the airport. Several flights had been delayed, Lowe said, but he didn't know how many or for how long.

About 30 minutes after the evacuation, passengers were being readmitted, officials said.

Long lines formed in front of the terminal, as passengers had to go through security checkpoints to be readmitted. Normally busy Sunday morning traffic was especially congested, and police directed cars around the terminal.

Dimity Carlson, 56, who had been visiting Los Angeles with her son, described a chaotic scene where people were rushing toward the doors and knocking over the check-in lines.

"We were inside and there was a rush of people, and they were yelling for us to go outside," said Carlson, of Tampa, Fla.

Carlson and her son missed their flight during the evacuation and were being rerouted through Las Vegas, she said.

At the Southwest Airlines check-in counter, computers were covered in plastic. The baggage claim area on the lower level was cordoned off, and sawdust and puddles of water lined the floor.

Garbage cans and buckets were spread out in a large section of the baggage claim area, gathering water drops that continued to fall from ceiling tiles.