[UPDATE] All Flights Grounded At O'Hare, Midway After Fire At FAA Facility

By Lisa White in News on Sep 26, 2014 1:30PM

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(O'Hare by snoopoz)

[UPDATE, 2:15 p.m.: Chief Gregory S. Thomas of the Aurora Police Department spoke to press at 2 p.m. regarding the incident earlier this morning at the Aurora FAA radar center. The 36-year-old male employee currently being investigated was a contractor and it is believed he set the fire on purpose using an accelerant. There was no explosion and officials believe this is an isolated incident and no one else is involved. No firearms or weapons were found at the FAA facility. Officials have not established a definite motive. The Sun-Times has reported the man was allegedly upset about a transfer order to Hawaii.

The man was taken to Aurora Hospital with multiple stab wounds and blood loss and is now in stable condition and is expected to survive. No criminal charges have been filed but if so, they will be federal charges. Officials are still investigating the incident and local law enforcement is currently monitoring the Naperville residency of the man and are planning to search the home as well.]

[UPDATE, 10:45 a.m.: Flights from both Midway and O'Hare airports have resumed, starting at about 10:30 a.m. after being grounded for hours this morning. According to the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration), landings and takeoffs at both airports are occurring at a reduced rate.]

[UPDATE, 9:45 a.m.: According to Tom Ahern, the spokesman for the Chicago office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the fire at the FAA facility was started by a man who worked for a contractor and had access to the facility. He used gasoline to start the fire. Ahern said the man suffered burns and was found with self-inflicted stab wounds in the basement. Sprinklers were set off from the fire, causing water damage in the building as well as smoke and fire damage. Ahern reports that at this time there is no information on the man's motive.

The Sun-Times is reporting that sources say the incident did not appear to be terroism-related.

O'Hare International Airport tweeted at 9:47 a.m. that currently they are still in a ground stop and airlines are reporting 700+ cancellations.]


Flights both to and from O'Hare and Midway have been grounded after a fire at an FAA radar center in Aurora early this morning. According to the Sun-Times, between 15 to 20 people were evacuated from the building after the fire started in the basement of the building. It did not spread and was extinguished by 6:53 a.m. A 50-year-old man was treated for smoke inhalation and was released on the scene. The Sun-Times also reports that a man was found in the basement with self-inflicted wounds and was taken to Aurora Hospital. His condition is not immediately known at this time. According to the FAA air space management has been transferred to nearby air traffic facilities.

The Chicago Department of Aviation has stated all flights would be grounded until at least 8:30 a.m. Currently the exact number of delays is not known. Southwest Airlines has suspended all flights until noon at Midway. All passengers flying today are advised to contact their airline in advance regarding flight statuses.

If you need to check a flight status, you can do so at the Chicago Department of Aviation's website here. Select the airport and then enter the flight number and/or departure or arrival cities. The website is currently experiencing delays due to heavy traffic this morning.

NBC Chicago tweeted out a air traffic map that shows the lack of air traffic near Chicago after the fire this morning: