Toronto’s Pearson airport cancels flights to U.S. from Terminal 1 after fire

Toronto’s Pearson airport cancels flights to U.S. from Terminal 1 after fire

Toronto Pearson Airport has cancelled all flights to the U.S. from Terminal 1 after a fire broke out on Sunday evening.

Peel Paramedics said that several travellers were being treated on site for minor injuries. Paramedics later tweeted that a woman was taken to hospital in stable condition. A second woman was treated on scene.

The fire was later extinguished but Peel Regional Police said there remained “a significant amount of water and smoke.”

GTAA spokesperson Maria Ganogiannis said that the fire broke out in the United States departures area of Terminal 1 and passengers were evacuated away from the area.

Pearson Airport is asking people travelling to the U.S. Sunday night or Monday to contact their airline before departing for the airport.

“I just want to thank passengers for their patience as we put their safety first,” said Ganogiannis.

Air Canada tweeted that customs agents were arranging buses to transport affected passengers to Terminal 3 for processing just before 10 p.m. The airline announced that it would be offering a “flexible rebooking policy” for affected passengers.

Air Canada spokesperson Peter Fitzpatrick said the airline could not process passengers through customs at Terminal 1. Although processing had resumed, he said it would go slow because customs is limiting the number of planes that can be disembarked at one time.

At around 10:20 p.m. Pearson tweeted that processing for outbound and inbound passengers resumed but U.S.-bound flights remained cancelled.

One woman was taken to hospital in stable condition after a fire broke out in Terminal 1.
One woman was taken to hospital in stable condition after a fire broke out in Terminal 1.  (@jamesagnew (Twitter))

Const. Akhil Mooken said that clean up crews were working on clearing the smoked areas. He said that Peel police would remain on site to help the airport with crowd control, given the high volume of travellers coming through for March Break.

“It’s slowly starting to thin out here, as much as it can,” he said from the terminal around 10 p.m.

The cancellations follow a busy week at the airport, following the grounding of the Boeing 737 Max 8 jets, which came as a result of concerns over the safety of that model in wake of the Ethiopian Airlines crash last Sunday.

“As for compensation, we appreciate this was disruptive for our customers but this was caused by factors completely outside Air Canada’s control,” said Fitzpatrick, who added that the fire occured in the duty-free area of Terminal 1.

Numerous travellers on inbound flights are reportedly stuck on planes on the tarmac.

Sonia DePiero, who was travelling on an Air Canada flight that was stuck on the tarmac throughout the evening had fellow passengers serenade her with ‘Happy Birthday’ as they waited to deplane.

Spencer Alty, who was on an Air Canada flight from Orlando and landed at Pearson just after 7:30 p.m., said he was coming back from a March Break trip and has been waiting to get off his plane for over two hours.

“The lack of information is nothing short of appalling. Toronto Pearson [as] a facility should be ashamed of itself,” Alty said.

With files from Premila D’Sa.

Tom Yun is a breaking news reporter, working out of the Star’s radio room in Toronto. Follow him on Twitter: @thetomyun

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