Fire leads to partial evacuation, delays at Newark airport

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Authorities say an underground transformer fire near Newark Liberty International Airport darkened a terminal, forced a partial evacuation and caused significant delays at security checkpoints. Airport officials say the fire Friday morning was quickly extinguished, and no one was injured. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey says a transformer fire in a manhole on a restricted road outside Terminal C cut power to the building around 11:15 a.m. Emergency generators provided partial power. A section of the terminal was evacuated. Once power was fully restored about two hours later, nearly all gates returned to service immediately. Escalators, elevators and some security checkpoint equipment had to be rebooted. Wait times returned to normal after about four hours. Terminals A and B weren't affected, but weather-related delays were reported across all terminals. ——— This story removes an incorrect reference to smoke in an airport terminal. Continue Reading

Gates open, delays at Newark airport after manhole fire

0 View Comments NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Officials at Newark Liberty International Airport are reporting progress at restoring service at one of its terminals after a manhole fire forced an evacuation. The problem prompted the evacuation of a section of Terminal C and caused significant delays at security checkpoints. The fire was extinguished Friday, and no one was injured. Airport officials say all gates are operating, and nearly all security checkpoints at Terminals C1, C2 and C3 are open, but there are wait times of up to an hour. Terminals A and B are reporting checkpoint wait times of 25 minutes or less. Passengers are advised to check with their airlines. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said there was no smoke or fire inside the terminal. ___ This story removes an incorrect reference to smoke in an airport terminal. Continue Reading

Significant delays at Newark airport after manhole fire

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Officials at Newark Liberty International Airport are working to fully restore power and service at one of its terminals after a manhole fire forced an evacuation and caused significant delays at security checkpoints. A fire that forced a section of Terminal C to be evacuated was extinguished Friday and no one was injured. Power was being restored Friday afternoon and the airport says equipment including elevators, escalators and some processing equipment at TSA checkpoints had to be re-started. Passengers should check with their airlines to see if there are any delays. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said there was no smoke or fire inside the terminal. ——— This story has been corrected to remove a reference to smoke in an airport terminal, according to information from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Continue Reading

Delays make area airports no-fly zone

More than half of U.S. flights with superlong delays - three hours or more - were headed to or from LaGuardia, Kennedy or Newark airports, a new report shows."New York is the epicenter of extreme delays," said Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). Of 173 flights nationwide that suffered huge delays in June, 90 - 52% - were headed in or out of the three metro airports, federal Bureau of Transportation statistics show. Schumer called for swift passage of an airline passengers' bill of rights he co-sponsored. It would require airlines to let passengers deplane and return to airport terminals after three hours' wait on the runway. Carriers would have to provide food and drinking water aboard stalled planes, and keep restrooms in working order and cabins adequately ventilated. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Have you seen him? New Jersey officials release video of man who breached security at Newark Airport

UPDATED: New Jersey man arrested for Newark airport security breach. Have you seen this man? He's the rogue Romeo who tied up air traffic at Newark Airport on Sunday, inconveniencing thousands of weary holiday travellers.And all, apparently, for a few more cuddles with his gal pal.Hoping to identify the man who breached security at Newark Airport on Sunday - delaying over 100 flights - New Jersey Sen. Frank Lautenberg released a security video on Thursday that shows a few grainy images of the dopey Lothario, who remains at large."The release of this video will give law enforcement another tool to help find the person who breached the security gate at Newark Liberty Airport," stated Lautenberg. "I encourage this individual or anyone with knowledge of his identity to immediately contact law enforcement."It won't be easy. The Continental Airlines' video is blurry and choppy at best, offering only a rough silhouette of the intruder.What it does show is that the man was warned away from the secure exit-way in Terminal C by a Transportation Security Administration guard at one point, forcing him to stand in the terminal's public area a few steps away.Video shows him loitering in the public area for about four minutes.But then the guard steps away from his podium - a clear breach of his duties - and moments later the intruder slips under a stanchion and joins his girlfriend in the secure area. The woman - who appears to be Asian and is dressed in a puffy white coat - had properly cleared security but clearly was trying to offer one last farewell to her guy.After realizing the podium was unguarded, the two quickly make their move. The love-birds can then be seen walking arm and arm into the terminal, clearly pleased by their fast foot-work.Officials have said that other video shows the man exiting the terminal about 20 minutes later.Anyone with information on the security breach should call Port Authority investigators at (800) 828-PAPD. Join Continue Reading

Security guard faces serious discipline after mystery trespasser shuts down Newark Airport

An airport security guard faces discipline after he left his post - or his senses - and let a mystery man into a secure area at Newark Airport, delaying flights worldwide for some seven hours.The latest airport security blunder comes as President Obama plans to grill his anti-terror team today about recent failings.The unnamed federal Transportation Security Administration guard either abandoned his station or failed to spot the man walking the wrong way into the exit lane at the airport's bustling Terminal C about 5:30 p.m. Sunday, agency officials said.It prompted an evacuation of the terminal and flight delays that stretched into yesterday."There was an officer assigned to the exit," TSA spokeswoman Anne Davis said, adding the guard has been booted from his screening duties as an investigation continues.Davis insisted it's no longer a question of whether the guard will be disciplined. "It's more at what level of discipline," she said.Obama, returning from an 11-day holiday in Hawaii, huddled with CIA officials to discuss the botched Christmas Day attack by 23-year-old Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.The radical boarded a plane in Amsterdam with explosives in his underwear - and in spite of his father's warning to U.S. officials his son could pose a threat.Obama has ordered national security officials to the White House today for a broader meeting about the attack, which was foiled, mostly by passengers.The President has demanded accountability from his team, and there has been speculation heads could roll as a result of the near catastrophe.The Newark snafu did little to ease concerns about the nation's air safety. What's known about the lapse in Newark - based on a review of security video - is that the wrong-way walker left the same Terminal C through another exit about 20 minutes later.TSA officials said the agency only learned of the breach after a sharp-eyed bystander noticed the man walk into the secure area.The man remains unidentified, officials Continue Reading

Security measures doubled at Newark airport; chatty guard blamed for breach

Security at Newark Airport was upgraded Tuesday after Sunday's breach, which insiders blamed on a new boneheaded cause: a guard on a cell phone. Two days after an unidentified man walked into a supposedly secure exitway at the airport - forcing a headache-inducing evacuation of the jammed Terminal C - security at every exit was doubled. There will now be two Transportation Security Administration guards at all Terminal C exits, not one, said TSA spokeswoman Ann Davis. But maybe the agency should just take away their guards' cell phones. Sources told The News that the TSA guard at the exit was spotted on security video chatting on his cell phone at the moment of the trespass. TSA officials refused to comment on the specifics of the failure, which delayed more than 100 flights for up to seven hours. "TSA is reviewing all of the circumstances surrounding the breach and how it happened," Davis said. "And if there are lessons that can be learned here, we will take further actions." Sunday's security blunder - coming nine days after a 23-year-old Nigerian with Al Qaeda ties made a botched, Christmas Day attempt to blow up a Detroit-bound flight - did nothing to ease fears about the nation's air safety. Jitters continued yesterday as portions of the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport were evacuated after a bomb-sniffing dog detected a suspicious bag, although closer inspection revealed nothing dangerous. In Bakersfield, Calif., the airport was shut down for hours after routine swabbing of some bags tested positive for TNT. Inside, five Gatorade bottles filled with amber liquid were found - but the mystery liquid turned out to be honey, local officials said. Newark's screwup began after an unidentified man was spotted by a sharp-eyed bystander on Sunday walking unchallenged into an exitway in Terminal C, where only screened passengers are supposed to be. Video then shows the man, who appears to be Asian, meeting up with a woman in a white Continue Reading

Newark Airport evacuated, workers treated after possible gas leak

TRENTON, N.J. - A security checkpoint at Newark Liberty International Airport was evacuated Saturday as authorities investigated a possible gas leak, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said.Transportation Security Administration workers in the airport’s Terminal B noticed a strong odor around 11 a.m. that they thought smelled like natural gas, Port Authority spokesman Pasquale DiFulco said. The checkpoint reopened around 1:30 p.m.Emergency workers treated about a dozen people, fire department spokesman John Brown said.DiFulco said those treated were mostly, if not all, TSA workers, and that two of the TSA workers were taken to a hospital in good condition with nausea and dizziness. The section of the terminal around the checkpoint was evacuated as police and the Newark Fire Department investigated. Some arriving flights were diverted to another part of the terminal.Delays were limited to three outbound flights, DiFulco said.Utility workers weren’t able to detect any natural gas or carbon monoxide in the air, said Robin Rasheed-Hernandez, a spokeswoman for Public Service Electric & Gas.The utility still planned to keep workers in the terminal through the afternoon as a precaution, Rasheed-Hernandez said.The cause of the odor was still being investigated. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Mystery odor at Newark Airport

A mysterious odor shut down a section of Newark Airport for about two hours Saturday and led to delays for several hundred travelers, authorities said.The smell, which witnesses likened to natural gas, was reported around 11 a.m. near a security checkpoint in Terminal B, causing several employees and passengers to become ill. "People were gagging. It brought tears to my eyes and my nose clogged up," said Carmen Vargas, who works at Homewords Bound bookstore near the gate. "It was terrible. I couldn't breathe," said Maria Hurley, 48, of Atlanta. The area was closed and cleared of people while the Newark Fire Department and Public Service Electric & Gas investigated the odor. But when no leak was detected, the section reopened around 1:30 p.m. Two Transportation Safety Administration employees were taken to a hospital suffering nausea and dizziness, said Port Authority spokesman Pasquale DiFulco. Other passengers were treated and evaluated at the scene. The two-hour closure didn't affect arriving flights, which were diverted to another part of the terminal, but it did upend some travel plans. Passengers from three outbound flights were put on buses and taken to adjacent concourses. Other passengers said the delays persisted after the area reopened. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

More campouts in the airport for NYC travelers

Some airline passengers remained stranded early Wednesday at the metropolitan area's three major airports after their flights were delayed for hours or canceled because of stormy weather in the Midwest. They spent the night sleeping on cots, the floors, in the cafeteria and on their luggage. "Lots of people were sleeping on their luggage in the halls. That was pretty uncomfortable," said Abby Schulman, a member of a Kentucky high school group stranded at John F. Kennedy International Airport, speaking to WCBS-TV. The service disruption at La Guardia, Kennedy and Newark airports began at about 6 p.m. Tuesday, said Pasquale Difulco, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which manages the three airports. Most scheduled flights were operating under normal schedules by Wednesday morning, according to the Federal Aviation Administration's flight tracking system. Airlines affected by the disruptions blamed severe weather in the Midwest for the disruption. Billy Sanev, a spokesman for American Airlines, said the company had canceled 19 flights on Tuesday because of the weather. He said some of its passengers may still be at the airport. "What the airline does is re-accommodate passengers on the next flight," he said. JetBlue Airways spokeswoman Alison Eshelman also said chronic congestion at the airports made them more sensitive to weather-related disruptions. "It's such a hard thing in the Northeast right now," Eshelman said. "The airports there have grown so much. It's definitely an issue that needs to be dealt with and airlines and airports are working together. Something does need to be done." She said the airline's main concern was Flight 357 from Kennedy Airport to Burbank, Calif. The flight was scheduled to depart at 4:45 p.m., she said, but rolled out of the gate and ended up sitting in line to take off for more than two hours. A passenger on that flight, Chris Harris, said he was upset because JetBlue agents did not Continue Reading