Fort Lauderdale airport reopens Terminal 1 after brief evacuation

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An unattended bag on the departures floor of Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport’s Terminal 1 prompted an evacuation and temporary road closure Sunday early afternoon, airport and law enforcement officials said.

The Broward Sheriff’s Office sent its bomb squad to investigate, then issued an “all’s clear” that reopened the terminal about an hour later.

The upper level of Terminal 1 was cleared out shortly before noon, and scores of travelers were sent outdoors to wait. It was reopened about 12:44 p.m. At the time, airport spokeswoman Arlene Satchell said the evacuation was necessary because of “a developing law enforcement investigation.”

A Broward Sheriff’s Office spokesperson later said someone had called the regional 911 dispatch center mid-morning on Sunday to report a “suspicious unattended bag” in Terminal 1.

Even as airport operations returned to normal, travelers were urged to check with their airline for updated flight status. Flights could be impacted, because the passenger security check is located on the second floor, and was temporarily closed. Only the lower level was open for drop-offs and pickups, and the road to departures was closed.

Terminal 1 is used by Southwest Airlines, United, Frontier and others, including Air Canada, Alaska, Allegient, Bahamasair, Silver, Westernair and Westjet. It also has a U.S. Customs presence. The terminal is located directly across Terminal Drive from the Cypress Garage, and airport rental car center.