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Firefighters hurt battling escalator fire at Hartsfield

Operations were temporarily disrupted Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport on Monday by a predawn fire that sent smoke pouring into a concourse. Two firefighters were slightly hurt fighting blaze.

The smoke, which was detected around 5:20 a.m. near the train level of the T concourse, apparently came from an escalator motor, according to airport spokesman Reese McCranie.

“The incident was contained within 30 minutes, but it did have operational impacts in the beginning,” McCranie said. All trains were running and all gates were operational before 9 a.m., according to McCranie.

Atlanta fire spokeswoman Janet Ward said the firefighters were hurt when they slipped in water.

“There was heavy smoke in the area and passengers were being re-routed to other concourses,” Ward said in an email. She said the firefighters were not badly injured and did not need to be transported to the hospital.

The fire forced airport customer service personnel to re-route security lines, which snaked through the baggage claim area just before 8 a.m. The airport’s website reported security wait times of 30 to 40 minutes at all three domestic terminal checkpoints at 8 a.m.

McCranie said the incident led to longer-than-usual security waits on an already “busy travel day because of yesterday’s holiday.”

McCranie said just one flight was delayed by the fire.

The fire marked the third such incident at the airport this year. In February, the people-mover system was shut down because of smoke in a tunnel. The smoke apparently came from an electric motor on a train car.

In June, an explosion in a maintenance shed outside concourse D prompted the evacuation of the concourse.

No injuries were reported in either incident.