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Nation's busiest airport hit with power outage

An electrical fire cut power to a concourse at Hartfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport Friday morning, causing flight delays and cancellations.
/ Source: The Associated Press

An electrical fire cut power to a concourse at Hartfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport for more than three hours Friday morning, causing flight delays and cancellations.

The fire, reported around 6:30 a.m. EST in an electrical closet, was put out and no injuries were reported, airport spokesman Herschel Grangent said. Utility crews restored power by 10 a.m.

Gateways to planes were not functioning because of the outage, Grangent said.

Delta Air Lines spokeswoman Betsy Talton said about 120 incoming and outgoing flights were delayed. Most of the flights are operated by ASA, a regional carrier for Delta, Talton said.

Crews were working to process passengers manually and get them on board the planes as quickly as possible, she said.

“That means getting people checked in and on board and seated, and other things that have to happen to get dispatch flights,” Talton said.

AirTran Airways canceled 38 flights because of the outage, company spokesman Tad Hutcheson said.

Two other flights were diverted to alternate airports, and three flights were returned to their gates after taxiing on the runway, Hutcheson said.

AirTran crews moved stairs manually for passengers to deplane, he said.

“It’s not ideal, but that’s what we’re doing,” he said. “We’re rerouting passengers the best we can. That’s going to be a big job this morning.”

Georgia Power Co. spokeswoman Carol Boatright said a crew was on the scene to help the airport identify the cause of the fire. She said the problem was with the airport’s equipment.

Sheila Faber said she was planning to travel to Wichita, Kan., with her parents to attend the 100th anniversary celebration of the family’s synagogue when she learned her flight had been canceled.

“I’m traveling with parents in wheelchairs. It’s challenging, what I’m going to do with them for the next several hours,” she said as she stood in line to book new flights.

Leslie George and his friend Missy Durham’s flight to New York City canceled. George said he wished the airline had done a better job notifying passengers of the cancellation.

“No e-mails or phone calls,” he said.