|Fears Of Roof Collapse Force DIA To Evacuate Terminal
DIA Officially Closes Wednesday Morning
Kim Ngan Nguyen, Staff Writer
POSTED: 6:46 a.m. MST March 19, 2003
UPDATED: 11:45 a.m. MST March 19, 2003
DENVER -- The more than 4,000 passengers who were stranded at Denver International Airport after the severe snowstorm forced airlines to cancel all of its flights are now facing another crisis -- a possible roof collapse, 7NEWS reported Wednesday morning. The airport evacuated the main terminal as a precaution after it identified a rip in a seam on the fabric canopy that covers the terminal. The ribs of the roof are just sagging under the immense weight of the heavy snow, 7NEWS reported.
The roof isn't leaking, but airport officials are keeping a close watch since snow continues to fall in the area and more than 1 foot of snow is expected on Wednesday.
"Airport maintenance crews are evaluating the roof conditions to determine the extent of the damage and what action needs to be taken to preserve the inner structure," the airport said in a press release.
Passengers who spent the night sleeping on the hard marble floors of the airport or on airport-issued cots and blankets are being corralled to the side areas, including the ticketing areas and the concourses.
The airport's signature white tent -- which covers the fountain, the screening areas and numerous airport concessions -- is
made of Teflon covered fiberglass that, once stretched, tends to break under stress, DIA airport officials said.
Adding To Traveler's Frustration
Although no flights were going in or out of DIA starting Tuesday afternoon, the airport didn't announce that it was "officially" closed until 1:30 a.m. Wednesday.
The airport will be closed indefinitely, no flights are expected to depart or arrive at DIA on Wednesday.
The best thing to do if you are checking on a flight for Wednesday evening or Thursday is to call the airline.