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Smoke stops all flights into and out of Chicago Airports

All FAA workers were evacuated from the Elgin FAA radar facility at around 11:30 a.m. today, halting flights at O'Hare and Midway airports.\
All FAA workers were evacuated from the Elgin FAA radar facility at around 11:30 a.m. today, halting flights at O'Hare and Midway airports.\
Photo by: Chicago Tribune/WGN-TV

Passengers departing from and flying to Chicago should double-check their flight status. All flights into and out of Chicago Midway International Airport and Chicago O’Hare International Airport have been stopped until further notice reported the Chicago Tribune on May 13, 2014.

Reports of smoke inside in a radar facility in Elgin, Chicago prompted the Federal Aviation Administration to issue a ground stoppage at the Chicago Midway International Airport and Chicago O’Hare International Airport.

CNN reported that the Federal Aviation Administration released a statement from FAA spokesman Tony Molinaro regarding the incident.

“All FAA personnel were evacuated from the Chicago Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) facility in Elgin because of smoke in the building. All TRACON operations were immediately transferred to the Chicago En Route Center in Aurora."

FAA employees in the building were evacuated at approximately 11:30 a.m.

According to the Elgin Police Department, the smoke came from an unreliable HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) motor at the TRACON facility in Elgin reported CBSChicago.

Additional details have yet to be released by the FAA.

No flights from Midway Chicago Midway International Airport and Chicago O’Hare International Airport will be departing until the FAA removes the ground stop.

Flights into Chicago Midway International Airport and Chicago O’Hare International Airport are delayed and currently detained at their departure cities.

Crain’s Chicago Business reported that according to FlightAware, an online flight tracker, all flights enroute to the Chicago Midway International Airport and the Chicago O’Hare International Airport have been detailed at their departure cities until 2 p.m. Central Standard Time.

Avian expert Joel Schwieterman from DePaul University stated the ground stoppage could create major problems for both Chicago airports.

“We’re getting to the early afternoon sort of peak at O’Hare. We have a lot of flights going out to the East Coast, so once that backs up, it could ripple through the day, and if this goes on a couple hours, of course, it will be a bit of a meltdown situation,” Schwieterman said.

The FAA Chicago Center in Aurora, Illinois is the 5th busiest air route traffic control center in the United States whose primary responsibility is high-altitude traffic. The Chicago Center in Aurora serves the Midwestern United States, which includes Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Iowa.