After power outage at Atlanta's airport, questions linger about what occurred

For a second day, the CBS46 Investigates team has been working to get answers on what caused the blackout at the worl...

Posted: Dec 21, 2017 9:06 AM
Updated: Dec 21, 2017 9:06 AM

For a second day, the CBS46 Investigates team has been working to get answers on what caused the blackout at the world's busiest airport.

Federal agents say they are actively investigating the cause and have ruled nothing out, but have no proof it was intentional or terror-related. However, the incident also highlighted what terror experts say is an already vulnerable area of concern -- transportation infrastructure.

As operations at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport crawl back to normal, questions linger about what occurred. The area of concern is a frayed line that may have led to the destructive fire.

"There's a focus on infrastructure and transportation as it's related to economy," says expert Anthony Lemieux.

But he says while not impossible, attacking an onsite electrical station is unlikely.

"There are so many layers of nested security that it makes that much more difficult," says Lemieux. "For a human actor with bad intent to cause this kind of harm, that suggest a different level of planning...sophistication."

But the incident does shine a light on the need to double back and doubly secure each key infrastructure site at a major target like Atlanta's airport. CBS46 questioned airport officials about security at the underground power site. Is there a guard present? Are there cameras?

Atlanta Fire Chief Joel Baker said Tuesday that no foul play was involved in the fire. Baker's complete statement, sent from the mayor's office, is provided below:

"The Atlanta Fire Rescue Department (AFRD), in partnership with the Atlanta Police Department, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) and the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force (FBI-JTFF) has concluded the preliminary investigation into the cause of Sunday's fire which led to the power outage at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

AFRD with our federal and local partners have determined that there is no evidence of foul play at this stage of the investigation. There is no information to suggest there was an insider threat or any connection to terrorism.

Smoke from the fire traveled throughout multiple terminals and areas within the airport. AFRD firefighters investigated every location where smoke was seen, and identified a single point of origin: The fire was caused by an electrical failure inside of a switchgear box located in the long below-grade tunnel which runs beneath the airport concourses. A subsequent intense arc flash ignited surrounding insulation and other combustibles inside the box."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 13260

Reported Deaths: 625
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds89324
Lauderdale67855
Madison65421
Scott58910
Neshoba51231
Forrest48034
Jones46713
DeSoto4616
Leake38410
Holmes36523
Rankin3496
Jackson29613
Copiah2784
Attala27014
Lincoln24320
Monroe24224
Leflore24025
Harrison2346
Newton2243
Lamar2194
Yazoo2152
Pearl River20327
Pike19611
Adams18615
Lowndes1607
Noxubee1586
Washington1535
Warren1506
Bolivar14010
Jasper1393
Oktibbeha13410
Smith13110
Covington1271
Chickasaw12612
Clarke12616
Kemper12510
Lafayette1233
Carroll11310
Wayne1090
Marion1088
Lee1045
Clay993
Winston981
Coahoma983
Lawrence901
Hancock8711
Simpson850
Itawamba857
Yalobusha824
Wilkinson829
Montgomery781
Sunflower773
Grenada752
Jefferson Davis712
Union715
Tippah7011
Marshall693
Panola622
Calhoun604
Tate591
Claiborne581
Humphreys537
Amite521
Walthall510
Tunica483
Perry462
Jefferson400
Prentiss383
Stone300
Choctaw292
Webster271
Pontotoc263
Franklin252
Tishomingo250
Quitman240
Tallahatchie241
George191
Alcorn151
Benton140
Greene71
Sharkey70
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 14478

Reported Deaths: 551
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile1996109
Jefferson161488
Montgomery118630
Marshall6499
Tuscaloosa50512
Lee49832
Franklin4476
Shelby43319
Tallapoosa39662
Butler34411
Chambers33623
Madison2964
Baldwin2749
Elmore2637
Etowah23610
DeKalb2213
Coffee2001
Walker1981
Dallas1973
Sumter1916
Lowndes18610
Houston1644
Morgan1621
Autauga1593
Calhoun1413
Choctaw1414
Pike1360
Colbert1362
Marengo1336
Hale1293
Russell1280
Lauderdale1282
Randolph1257
Wilcox1187
Marion11310
Bullock1111
Barbour1101
Clarke1022
St. Clair1021
Pickens934
Talladega912
Greene894
Chilton871
Dale830
Cullman760
Limestone740
Jackson692
Covington651
Washington645
Winston620
Macon602
Bibb591
Crenshaw582
Henry562
Blount491
Escambia433
Lawrence420
Coosa331
Geneva330
Cherokee332
Perry310
Monroe282
Clay272
Conecuh251
Lamar200
Cleburne131
Fayette110
Unassigned00
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