Report slams FAA response to fire at air traffic facility

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CHICAGO — The U.S. Transportation Department's inspector general has determined Federal Aviation Administration contingency plans and security protocols were insufficient at a Chicago air traffic control facility that was set on fire last year.

According to the inspector's report, the FAA's contingency plan was so bad the agency reverted to an "outdated 2008 plan" in an effort to restore normal operations. The FAA's plan didn't have procedures for transferring control of air traffic to neighboring facilities.

The fire at the Aurora FAA facility forced Chicago's O'Hare and Midway airports to close and disrupted air traffic nationwide.

Contractor Brian Howard pleaded guilty in May to setting the fire in an outburst targeting his employer and government workers he thought were "lazy." He has been sentenced to 12 1/2 years in prison.

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