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St. John's, N.L., airport closed after late night fire on 2nd floor forces evacuation

The apron of St. John's International Airport stands empty on Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022. A fire on the second floor of the international airport in St. John's, N.L., resulted in the facility being closed late Friday night. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Daly

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — A fire at the international airport in St. John's, N.L., resulted in the passenger terminal being closed late Friday night with the reopening set for Sunday evening as a cleanup continued.

Airport CEO Dennis Hogan said Saturday evening the main terminal building was evacuated due to a fire on the second floor which started at about 11:30 p.m. on Friday. 

Hogan said the fire originated in a ceiling area of the departure area and was rapidly extinguished by firefighters, while about 30 people were evacuated from the terminal after the alarm went off.

The airport had originally hoped to reopen on Saturday at 6 p.m., but Hogan said during a news conference that due to the cleanup the airport now anticipates it will remain closed to the public until 5 p.m. on Sunday, with the first flights resuming at 7 p.m. 

"If that changes, we will provide new updates, but we have a relatively high degree of confidence we can have things in place by that time," said Hogan.

He said the airport is continuing to assess its baggage systems and its pre-boarding screen systems to ensure they are all in good working order.

Some gates will remain closed in the departure area in the building's eastern wing as the repairs and remediation continue, Hogan added.

"In any kind of incident like this there tends to be some smoke damage and soot residue that is located in the area, and in addition to that there is water damage from the water that was needed to put down the fire."

Hogan said the fire is not considered to be suspicious, and there were no injuries. He said the cause remains under investigation.

The airport authority CEO estimated that as of Saturday night, 36 flights had been either delayed or cancelled.

The airfield has remained operational for cargo and military flights, with the shutdown only affecting commercial flights.

The airport is urging passengers to check with airlines on the status of their flights before heading to the airport on Sunday.

— Story by Michael Tutton in Halifax.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 25, 2023.

The Canadian Press

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