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False alarm briefly grounds flights at Newark

March 25, 2011 4:37:14 PM PDT
A fire alarm in the traffic control tower prompted a ground stop at Newark Liberty International Airport.

The incident stopped departures for 20 minutes, the FAA said.

It turned out to be a false alarm - no fire.

FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen says a faulty sensor on the tower's 15th floor caused the trouble starting at 5:50 p.m.

She says that the tower was evacuated but that three controllers remained to monitor incoming flights.

Other controllers began to set up a temporary tower atop a terminal.

Departures were held until the sensor was replaced at 6:10 p.m. and operations resumed.

Bergen says four flights were diverted from Newark and landed at other airports but it wasn't immediately known where they went.

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