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Chicago airports reopen, flights at McCarran still impacted | News

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Chicago airports reopen, flights at McCarran still impacted
Lines at McCarran International Airport

LAS VEGAS -- Flights are taking off and landing again at Chicago's two airports after a fire at a suburban air traffic control center forced the closure of both O'Hare and Midway international airports for more than five hours Friday.

The closure of the airports had a ripple effect across the nation's air travel network, including in Las Vegas. Hundreds of flights have already been canceled around the country and more are expected as the day progresses.

There were some long lines of passengers at McCarran International Airport Friday morning as they tried to change their reservations. McCarran officials said at least seven departures and six arriving flights were canceled.

"As in all things air travel, it's kind of a finely choreographed dance we'll say. So, when one step is out of place, then it can affect others, so if we're not seeing flights in and out of Chicago getting here on time or at all, it could impact their next leg," Christine Crews with McCarran Airport said.

Southwest airline officials say their flights in and out of Midway will be halted until at least 5 p.m. 

The closures were the result of a fire at an air traffic control facility in Chicago. Authorities say the early morning fire at the control center in Aurora was deliberately set by a contract employee at the Federal Aviation Administration. Emergency crews found the suspect in the building's basement, where the fire started, with self-inflicted knife wounds and burns to his body. He was taken to the hospital.

Authorities say the incident was not terrorism.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report)