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Chicago's O'Hare Airport Snarled In Ground Stops After Fire At FAA Building

Authorities have identified the man who brought traffic through both of Chicago’s airports to a standstill by setting a fire.

It was a major wrench in the system earlier today when officials had to ground flights into and out of O’Hare International Airport and Midway Airport. These are two of the busiest airports in the United States, and countless passengers felt the pinch as more than 2,000 flights were shut down early this morning, according to The Chicago Tribune.

Authorities had to put the brakes on all the flights around 5:40 a.m. after a man named Brian Howard set fire to the Aurora FAA radar center. The blaze, which started in the building’s basement, forced an evacuation. This meant that flights had to be stopped because there was no one in the facility, which is also known as the Chicago Center, to monitor and direct air traffic.

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A federal complaint that has now been filed against Brian states that the fire was part of an apparent suicide attempt. Brian had been working as a communications contractor at the air traffic center, but’s not clear what may have motivated him to target others in the attempt to take his own life.

It’s being reported that he may alluded to his plan on Facebook shortly before the incident, writing, “Take a hard look in the mirror, I have. And this is why I am about to take out ZAU (the radar center) and my life…So I’m gonna smoke this blunt and move on, take care everyone.”

Brian, who is in custody, is still being treated in the hospital. When he gets out, he’ll be facing charges for setting fire to an air navigation facility and damaging it.

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