Fire Knocks Out Power at Atlanta Airport, Restored by Midnight

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By Editors of Power Engineering

An underground fire knocked out power at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International, completely halting flights at the world’s busiest airport.

The incident happened at 1 p.m. Sunday. Georgia Power said the cause is not yet fully known, though a preliminary investigation indicates a piece of Georgia Power switchgear in an underground electrical facility may have failed and caused the fire.

The fire occurred near redundant circuit cables and switching mechanisms serving the airport, damaging them and causing the outage.

Georgia Power said that while the fire was extinguished by fire crews before utility officials could begin the repairs, hazardous fumes and smoke remained. Once the air was cleared, Georgia Power isolated areas where equipment wasn’t operating to ensure safety and minimize damage.

The utility set a midnight deadline to restore power and successfully brought the airport back online 15 minutes ahead of schedule.

The Associated Press reported more than 1,000 flights were grounded, with arriving flights held on the ground. 

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