Tue May 13, 2014
O'Hare, Midway Flights Grounded By Smoke
Incoming and outgoing flights at Chicago's airports were halted today after smoke emerged from a regional radar facility.
The Federal Aviation Administration says all its personnel were evacuated from the Chicago Terminal Radar Approach Control, or TRACON, facility in Elgin at around 11:30 a.m. TRACON provides radar approach control services for O'Hare and Midway and smaller airports in the Chicago area.
FAA spokesman Tony Molinaro says a ground stop is in effect for all flights in and out of both airports. Molinaro says inbound flights already in the air were handled by a backup facility in the city of Aurora.
Elgin police said the evacuation was ordered because smoke was coming from a faulty motor in an HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) unit at the facility.
CBS Chicago reported that TRACON workers were allowed to return to the building shortly before 1 p.m. after firefighters deemed the building was safe and there was no fire, but it was unclear how soon air traffic would resume at O’Hare and Midway.