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Bad air day for Michiganders flying through Chicago today

Sep 26, 2014

It's a bad day to be flying from any of Michigan’s major airports through Chicago.

An incident at an air traffic control tower in Illinois is causing hundreds of flight cancelations.

A fire at an air traffic control facility in suburban Chicago has caused more than 500 flights to be canceled at the city's airports today -- and more cancelations are expected. That could send delays rippling through the nation's air travel network. (AP)
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Police say the fire at the suburban Chicago air traffic control facility was intentionally set by a contract employee.

The early morning fire forced the evacuation of the control center in Aurora, about 40 miles west of downtown Chicago. Emergency crews found a man in the basement with a self-inflicted wound and took him to a hospital.

The man was a contract employee of the Federal Aviation Administration, said Aurora Police Chief Gregory Thomas. He said it was not a terrorist act and that the investigation was being run by the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and local police and fire departments.

Chicago bound flights from airports in Grand Rapids, Flint and Detroit were canceled soon after the fire at an air traffic control tower in Aurora, Illinois. Flights from Chicago and other cities in Illinois and other nearby cities to Michigan were also canceled.

More than three dozen flights to and from Detroit Metro Airport were canceled after the fire in Illinois.

A dozen flights into and out of Grand Rapids’ Gerald R. Ford International Airport were canceled.  Flint’s Bishop Airport saw four flights canceled.  

The incident is still under investigation.