Mayor Reed: No evidence fire that caused airport power outage was deliberate

    Local | WSBTV
    Dec 17, 2017

Thousands of passengers are stranded as Georgia Power works to restore power to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

Officials said a fire in an underground facility led to the power outage around 1 p.m. on Sunday.

[READ: Here's what caused the power outage at Atlanta airport]

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed held a news conference addressing the issue Sunday night.

We'll be monitoring the situation at the airport throughout the day -- Watch Channel 2 Action News starting at 4 for updates. 

During the news conference, he said there is "no evidence to suggest the fire was caused deliberately.”

He said it took crews nearly two hours to contain the fire.

[MINUTE BY MINUTE: Power outage at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport]

Reed said strong fumes from the flames prevented Georgia Power crews from accessing the area immediately.

“We couldn’t get crew into the tunnels to fix power bc the fumes were so bad in the tunnels”(where the fire happened) says @KasimReed He says he waited to speak on all of this until he got all the info to speak on it #ATLairport

— Lauren Pozen WSB (@LaurenPozenWSB) December 18, 2017

A Georgia Power spokeswoman said the airport has a “very redundant, very robust system.”

She said the switch that accesses the backup power system was also damaged in the fire, causing both systems to go down.

Once the fire was extinguished, crews assessed the damage and started repairs.

Then repairs were made. Concourse F is up. Remainder of repairs happening now. Should be back up and running by midnight says @KasimReed #ATLairport

— Lauren Pozen WSB (@LaurenPozenWSB) December 18, 2017

Power was restored to Concourse F around 7:30 p.m. Georgia Power officials expect power to be fully restored by midnight.

The mayor said a security sweep is underway at the airport.

“We have no way of absolutely knowing at this time that our system may have been tampered with in order to create this kind of chaos and confusion," Reed said.

[READ: Passengers frustrated, confused by airport power outage: 'It's crazy in here']

Officials apologized for the inconvenience during the news conference and said their focus is on the comfort of travelers.

Mayor @KasimReed he wants to emphasize how sorry he is for what happened, commends @ATLFireRescue, @GeorgiaPower and other emergency response teams. #ATLairport

— WSB-TV (@wsbtv) December 18, 2017

Reed said that stranded passengers will be bused to the nearby Georgia International Convention Center. He said officials are working with Chick-fil-A to provide meals.

Here's a look at the @TheGICC where stranded travelers are being sent due to #ATLAirport outage.

— WSB-TV (@wsbtv) December 18, 2017