NEWS
03/17/2019 22:31 EDT | Updated 03/17/2019 23:17 EDT

Toronto Pearson Airport Fire Forces Cancellation Of U.S.-Bound Flights

Terminal 1 passengers were evacuated from the screening area.

Peel Regional Police/Twitter
Peel Regional Police officers at Toronto's Pearson International Airport on March 17, 2019.

TORONTO — A fire near a security screening area led to travel chaos at Canada's busiest airport Sunday evening, but within a few hours operations were starting to return to normal.

The blaze broke out in Terminal 1 at Toronto Pearson International Airport, leading authorities to evacuate the area.

It was extinguished a short time later, but the airport announced in a tweet that all U.S.-bound flights scheduled to depart from Terminal 1 on Sunday had been cancelled.

A few hours later, the airport tweeted that processing of outbound international flights and inbound arrivals had resumed.

Photos posted on social media showed thick smoke in parts of the airport, and television footage showed frustrated passengers crowding the terminal's main concourse.

Paramedics said one woman was taken to hospital in stable condition while another was treated at the scene and released.

Police said no major injuries were reported and crews were working to clean up damage from smoke and water.

Meantime, dozens of inbound flights were stranded on the tarmac for hours as crews worked to ensure the terminal was safe for re-entry.

One passenger arriving from Barbados tweeted that there were 22 planes ahead of hers.

"Will be a long night at YYZ,'' Heather Bailey wrote on Twitter.

Duncan Smit, a Dutch businessman who had been in Vancouver for a conference, told The Canadian Press that his flight home to Amsterdam had been delayed by several hours.

"There was a lot of smoke in part of the terminal,'' Smit said in a phone interview from his gate at Pearson, where he had been waiting since Sunday morning after arriving from Vancouver.

But Smit was taking the delay in stride.

"Those three, four, five hours that I have to wait, well so be it. I'll get another cup of coffee,'' he said.

There's no word yet on what caused the fire.

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