Electrical fire disrupts operations briefly at Dallas airport

An electrical malfunction Thursday afternoon sent smoke wafting through the air traffic control tower at Dallas Love Field, forcing controllers to relocate to a backup tower and briefly disrupting traffic at the airport.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Lynn Lunsford said the handful of controllers who staff the Dallas tower evacuated around 3:30 p.m. after noticing an apparent fire on the tower’s fifth level, about half way of the structure.

Dallas Fire Department personnel determined that the smoke was coming from an overheated electrical component in an equipment cabinet. Firefighters cleared the tower of smoke, and the controllers returned to their regular stations around 4:20 p.m., Lunsford said.

“We’re ok, don’t worry,” Love Field tweeted soon after the incident ended.

Around 5 p.m., Southwest Airlines Co. spokeswoman Brandy King said the carrier “had approximately 30 outbound departures that were delayed less than an hour and four inbound diversions. I’ve been told that we are back on track.”

In addition, a Pinnacle Airlines Inc. flight from Memphis and a Colgan Air Inc. flight from Houston diverted to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, according to FlightStats.com.

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