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Miami International Airport Disrupted by Fire and Bomb Scare

Flights at Miami International Airport were delayed and canceled on Thursday due to a fuel tank that caught on fire and damaged the pumping equipment. Marc Henderson, a spokesman for the airport, said that many services were departing and arriving, but 83 were either delayed or canceled by late morning.

A fuel tank farm on the southeast perimeter of the airport exploded at about 11pm on Wednesday. Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Capt Eric Baum said that their strategy was to let the tanks of fuel that were already on fire burn themselves off. Airport spokesman Greg Chin noted that their fuel supply had been cut to 40% of the normal output.

Over 30 fire crew responded to the scene, and Cristina Armand, a spokeswoman for the fire rescue team, said that they were able to extinguish the blaze by 1:20am. There were no injuries, and the fire crew is still investigating the incident.

The fire wasn’t near the terminal or runways, but it damaged the pumps that send fuel to the underground lines, which lead to the hydrant and hose system used to fuel the aircraft. Henderson said they were having to use trucks for refueling planes, which takes longer. The airlines most affected were American Airlines and American Eagle, he added, as the airport is a major base for parent firm AMR Corp.

This wasn’t the only problem at the airport yesterday. Only hours after the fire, travelers were faced with more delays when a terminal was evacuated because of a suspicious package. The package was found around 7:30am by a bomb-sniffing dog. Authorities said any threat had been contained, and they reopened the area by mid-morning. US Airways, Air Canada and Lufthansa flights were also affected during the day.

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