Fire destroys air cargo terminal in Turkey
A large fire destroyed most of the cargo terminal and delayed flights at Istanbul’s Ataturk International Airport Wednesday before firefighters brought it under control, according to news accounts from Turkey.
Turkish officials speculated that the fire was started by an electrical short circuit or a spark from a welder’s torch. They ruled out terrorism as a cause, but a Kurdish opposition group claimed responsibility for the fire.
Most of the goods stored in the cargo facility, which mostly comprised textile products and gold shipments, were destroyed.
Lufthansa Cargo said all of its warehouses at the airport were destroyed. The carrier said it has relocated its cargo handling office to the sales office at the airport, and is accepting export shipments at another on-site warehouse and import shipments at a nearby facility. Lufthansa said all passenger and freighter services will operate as scheduled.
The fire forced the closure of one runway, delayed flights and the removal of parked cargo planes away from the burning building. Huge plumes of black smoke covered the area. The fire threatened the adjacent passenger terminal that handles millions of tourists each year, and a nearby hotel. Fuel or hazardous material stored in the area is believed to have contributed to the spread of the fire. Hundreds of firefighters responded to the blaze, which was brought under control after four hours with the help of firefighting planes that dropped water from the nearby Marmara Sea.