Brian Howard has been identified as the main suspect for the Chicago O’Hare airport fire that caused delays for thousands of people while grounding hundreds of planes. According to the FBI, the man sent a Facebook message to a relative before starting the fire.
The messages said:
“Take a hard look in the mirror, I have. And this is why I am about to take out ZAU and my life.
So I’m gonna smoke this blunt and move on, take care everyone.”
ZAU is the 3 letters identification code for the airport’s control center.
Brian Howard, 36, seems to have started the fire in the basement of the control center. As firefighters came in, he was lying on the floor and then sliced his own throat.
Howard was taken to the hospital and officially charged by the FBI with destruction of aircraft or aircraft facilities.
The fire was noticed at around 5:40 AM on Friday. It led to the evacuation of the Aurora, Illinois, traffic control center, which controls various flights in US Midwest states.
1,550 flights were canceled at O’Hare and 470 at Midway according to the Chicago Department of Aviation.
Because of the fire, flight cancellations appeared all around the US. LaGuardia Airport (NYC) had 56 cancellations and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport showed 70 cancellations. Flights are now carried out at a reduced rate in the Chicago airports.
Preliminary investigations state that the reason behind Howard’s actions may be that he was going to be transferred to Hawaii.