'Intentional' Fire at FAA Facility Grounds Planes

Man with self-inflicted wounds found at Aurora, Illinois, center
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 26, 2014 11:43 AM CDT
'Intentional' Fire at FAA Facility Grounds Planes
This screenshot provided by FlightAware shows airline traffic at 10:20am EDT on Sept. 26, 2014, after hundreds of flights were canceled at Chicago airports, shown at center.   (AP Photo/Courtesy FlightAware)

Anyone hoping to fly into or out of Chicago could be in for a delay today along with numerous others. More than 850 flights have been canceled out of Chicago's O'Hare International and Midway International airports after an employee allegedly set a fire in the basement of a major Federal Aviation Administration air traffic control center around 6am local time. The FBI is on the scene after the man was found with self-inflicted cuts to his wrist, also in the basement, WLS reports. Sources say the fire, now extinguished, was intentional and that the employee "used accelerant to start the fire near sensitive flight equipment." He also may have revealed his plan online, a source says.

Authorities were seen confiscating a car at the facility hours after the fire began. All employees were evacuated. Another man was treated for smoke inhalation. Apart from flights into and out of Chicago, the incident at the Aurora, Ill., center could also delay thousands of "long-distance routes to other regions" as the center "controls air traffic for a giant swath of the Midwest," CNN reports. But the ground stop was recently lifted, and FAA officials say flights have resumed at a "reduced rate." Even so, travelers are urged to check their flight status, as many flights were delayed or re-routed. (More Chicago stories.)

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