New Jersey

Transformer Fire Sparks Evacuation, Long Security Lines at Newark Airport

What to Know

  • A transformer fire forced Newark Liberty International Airport to clear out part of a terminal Friday morning
  • An image provided to News 4 showed a column of flames shooting up from underneath an airport gangway
  • It comes on a day when weather-related issues were causing power problems across the tri-state

A transformer caught fire underneath a terminal at Newark Liberty International Airport Friday morning, forcing officials to evacuate a smoke filled concourse wing and put the airport on backup generators.

Travelers snaked around the ticketing areas of Terminal C on Friday afternoon as massive security screening delays built up following the fire that sent a column of flames spewing from the ground underneath the C1 wing about 11 a.m. A spokesman for United Airlines, the only airline that has flights out of the terminal, said the delays were primarily because screening stations were shut down for some amount of time after the fire. 

The airport said in a tweet that the fire was also causing delays for arriving passengers hoping to pick up luggage just a week after a spate of mishaps caused tens of thousands of flyers to become separated from their bags at JFK Airport.

The airport said in a series of tweets that no one was injured in the blaze, and that utility company PSE&G had full power restored by mid-afternoon. Images posted to social media showed normally open stores and restaurants shut down while the airport ran on backup power sources.

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Despite the evacuation and mounting delays at security lines, air travel tracking service FlightAware reports Newark Airport has the fewest delays and cancellations of the region's three airports as of 2 p.m. But the airport -- as well as JFK Airport -- warned that weather delays could mount as a soaker of a storm system moves through the region

The airport told passengers to check with United Airlines for the statuses of their flights, as flights scheduled to take off from the C1 wing were rerouted to other gates.

It's not clear what sparked the blaze, but it comes on a day when weather-related issues caused power outages for more than 40,000 customers across northern New Jersey. But the airport or utility didn't immediately comment on whether the fire was caused in part by the weather.

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