Authorities are blaming a burnt bagel for the evacuation of Terminal 2 at Lambert Airport in St. Louis earlier this week.
Better safe than sorry?
Airport officials say a bagel burned in a restaurant in Terminal 2 around 6 p.m. Tuesday, setting off smoke detectors and prompting a full evacuation. An estimated 300 to 400 people were required to go outside, where the temperature was 11 degrees.
The airport says the evacuation lasted only about five minutes, but passengers had to go back through security checks once they re-entered the building. No flight delays were reported.
That last-line is a kicker, isn’t it? Passengers are herded outside in to 11ºF (-12ºC) weather only to have to endure another security screening moments later. It just seems like a huge overreaction to me. Couldn’t someone in the restaurant just have pulled out a fire extinguisher?
Temporary partial evacuation in T2 out of an abundance of caution after alarm detected smoke near a restaurant. ARFF responded. Evacuation lasted about 5 mins. Normal Operations have resumed #safetyfirst
— STL Airport (@flystl) December 27, 2017
One small detail: the passengers were not herded out to the check-in lobby or sidewalk…but to the tarmac.
We’re all outside in the freezing cold walking under the jetbridges. No idea where we are going or why. Hundreds of passengers pic.twitter.com/992pFplHXm
— Jacob Long (@JacobLongTV) December 27, 2017
And this, once again, begs the question: wasn’t an even greater security risk created by evacuating passengers out to the tarmac? Who made the decision to send people out to the tarmac? Why were passengers free to wander around?
I suppose it is all-too-easy to “Monday Morning Quarterback” but I think it is fair to question how this situation was handled.