September 3, 2008

‘Clumsy’ Bus Traveler Rattles LAX Nerves

By Art Marroquin

A fire extinguisher was accidentally set off by a clumsy traveler boarding a bus at Los Angeles International Airport this morning, resulting in rattled nerves and a massive traffic jam.

A man was boarding an LAX FlyAway bus parked in front of Terminal One when his bag hit the fire extinguisher, causing it to loudly discharge a white powdery substance at 10:45 a.m., according to airport spokeswoman Nancy Castles

It was unclear how many people were on the bus, but they were all evacuated safely and questioned by authorities, Castles said.

"There was clearly no fire and there was clearly no explosion," Castles said. "They heard a loud noise, which could have been mistaken for an explosion."

Hazardous materials crews from the Los Angeles Fire Department cleaned up the dry flame retardant powder that was expelled from the extinguisher, she said.

Three of the five traffic lanes on the airport's lower roadway were closed for more than an hour, but the upper roadway remained open. Airport operations and flights remained on schedule, Castle said.

The LAX FlyAway bus system shuttles airport passengers between LAX and stops at Union Station, Van Nuys Airport and Westwood. It was unclear which route the bus was scheduled to take at the time of the blast.

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