Man with 'self-inflicted wounds' found at fire that has closed all Chicago-area airports



By RYAN GORMAN

Authorities have found a man with "self-inflicted wounds" at an air traffic control center fire that earlier resulted in a complete ground-stop at Chicago airports.

The fire at the FAA's facility in suburban Aurora has halted all flights in and out of both Midway Airport and O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, according to reports. Flights have resumed but more than 2,000 have been cancelled.

A 36-year-old male contract employee is considered the primary suspect, said police. He is believed to have set the blaze because he was distraught over a transfer to Hawaii, sources told the Chicago Sun-Times.

The main suspect had burns and self-inflicted knife wounds, according to the Sun-Times. The second injured person's wounds are not self-inflicted.

Both were found in the building's basement and were rushed to nearby hospitals, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The distraught man started the fire with gasoline in the building's basement telecommunications room, according to the Sun-Times.

It is believed he tried to commit suicide, officials told CNN.

The fire has also halted most cross-country flights until extra staff was brought to a facility in Indianapolis to take over duties from the Chicago Center during the early afternoon, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The Chicago Center controls all air traffic flying over 10,000 feet across the region, according to the Tribune. Controllers navigate planes through other traffic then hand off to other similar centers or to airport radar facilities for landing guidance.

More than 2,000 flights in and out of Chicago's two main airports, including all Southwest Airlines routes, were cancelled as of mid-afternoon, according to Chicago's Department of Aviation.

The first calls to tame the fire at the Chicago Air Route Traffic Control Center came at 5:45 a.m. A ground stop was ordered soon after.

The building was immediately evacuated of about 20 personnel, according to the Chicago Tribune. Another man, 50, received treatment for smoke inhalation, but everyone else made it out safely.

The fire has since been extinguished, according to reports, but FlightAware earlier showed shockingly clear skies over the Windy City as massive lines queued up at the city's airports.

Flights into and out of the airports began around 10:30 a.m., but at a much reduced rate, the Sun-Times reported.

This is the second time since May that a fire at a Chicago-area air control facility has caused a full ground stop at the city's airports, according to WFLD.

O'Hare's Terminal 1 was also evacuated Wednesday over fears from an unattended bag. A bomb squad found the luggage to be harmless and normal operations resumed soon after.

Evacuation Over At O'Hare Airport Terminal After 'Suspicious Bag' Cleared
Evacuation Over At O'Hare Airport Terminal After 'Suspicious Bag' Cleared


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