St. John's International Airport terminal to remain closed after Friday night fire

The sign above the door at St. John's International Airport which reads 25 March 2023 05:00 PM: Travel at St. John's International Airport is on hold Saturday after a fire in the terminal building late Friday night. (CBC)

The airport in St. John's will stay closed to travellers until Sunday evening, after a fire led to the closure of its terminal building Friday night.

The St. John's International Airport Authority says the terminal building is expected to stay closed to the public until Sunday at 5 p.m., with commercial flights set to resume at 7 p.m.

The airport authority says the fire began around 11:30 p.m. Friday on the second floor of the terminal building near gate 10. 

The St. John's Regional Fire Department, as well as airport emergency responders, were able to contain the fire, which began in the ceiling.

Dennis Hogan, the CEO of the airport authority, says the extent of the damage to the building, including smoke and water damage, was worse than initially thought. It was first thought that service at the airport could resume on Saturday night. 

He said the damage is still being assessed and that the airport authority is currently working with the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary, the St. John's fire department and a building restoration team to navigate the situation.

About 36 commercial flights were cancelled or delayed, Hogan said, due the fire and the winter storm conditions facing eastern Newfoundland on Saturday.

A man wearing glasses and a blue sweater looks into the camera.
Dennis Hogan, the CEO of the St. John's International Airport Authority, says the fire began in a localized area on the second floor of the terminal building at around 11:30 p.m. Friday. (CBC)

The cause of the fire is still unknown. Only commercial flights are being affected by the terminal closure.

Hogan says only about 30 people were in the building at the time of the fire, and that everyone was able to evacuate the building safely.

The airport authority is advising passengers not to visit the airport until it is determined the terminal can re-open safely. Travellers are also being asked to contact their airlines directly before heading to the airport.

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