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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, February 26, 2010

Airport fire delays flights

By Suzanne Roig
Advertiser Staff Writer

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

A Hawaiian Airlines senior manager explains to passengers what will happen as the interisland terminal is reopened following a fire at the terminal's Burger King. Five Mainland flights and one interisland were affected.

RICHARD AMBO | The Honolulu Advertiser

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A fire in the ventilation system at a Burger King restaurant resulted in the closure and evacuation of the interisland terminal at Honolulu International Airport for about an hour yesterday afternoon.

The terminal reopened at 2:35 p.m., but travelers were advised to expect delays.

Six flights — five Mainland and one interisland —were affected by the closure, said Keoni Wagner, Hawaiian Airlines spokesman. Mainland flights were delayed by 30 minutes and interisland flights by 15 to 20 minutes.

By evening, all Hawaiian flights were back on schedule, Wagner said.

Passengers who had been at their gate and ticketed or were about to check in had to wait outside the terminal with their bags as guards kept the building secured and firefighters investigated the fire.

"We have no control over what's happening," said Diane Hall, a Portland, Ore., resident on her way home. "You never know what to expect."

Honolulu Fire Department Capt. Terry Seelig said the state's Air Rescue Fire Unit responded to the fire at 1:30 p.m., with Honolulu firefighters assisting. When firefighters arrived the fire was under control and smoldering in a ventilation duct.

Once the all-clear was sounded, Transportation Security Administration officials had to perform a security sweep before passengers could return to the terminal, said Tammy Mori, spokeswoman for the state Department of Transportation.

Curtis Laa and his family were in the interisland terminal, in line to check their bags for a flight to Las Vegas, when the fire broke out. Laa had just printed out his boarding passes when his family was escorted out of the terminal.

"I've never had something like this happen," he said. "I think Burger King flamed-broil longer than they should have been."