Fire At JFK Airport Causes Delays, Crowding Conditions

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A fire that broke out at John F. Kennedy International Airport on Thursday afternoon caused significant delays and crowding conditions.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said the fired started at a Panda Express in Terminal 4.

Video showed flames raging in the back of the restaurant, sending smoke through the terminal.

Port Authority and the FDNY quickly responded.

Officials had to shut down a security checkpoint, leading to significant delays. Extra police were also called in to handle crowds.

As CBS2’s Jessica Layton reported, the flight rebooking line was a popular place to be Thursday night, but certainly not by choice. Frustrated passengers on their phones were at wits end, waiting for answers.

“Everybody’s stressed out, a lot of people stressed out,” Queens resident Antonio Beis said. “Nobody knows anything.”

Once they got to the departure area, Beis, along with his daughter, and his wife went separate ways.

“Just in case we do happen to make the flight, she’s there in the check-in. And in case we lose the flight, I’m here in the booking line so we won’t have to wait double, triple time,” he said.

The long, unexpected delays had people racing to go nowhere. They also pushed back a baby’s first flight.

“Little frustrated,” said mother Sharon VanEtten, of Brooklyn. “We’ll see how long of a night it will be.”

“Well it’s very, very busy, and we’re a little bit in shock wondering why we’re all delayed,” traveler Bernice Hargreaves said.

There’s never a good time for this to happened, but especially not right before a holiday weekend.

“When this happens, they should have more personnel on the ground,” Beis said.

Several travelers said they felt there were plenty of police officers but not enough airport employees to give them directions or answer their questions, Layton reported.

No injuries were reported.

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