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Unauthorized entry leads to evacuation

Jackson Bell

A man walking through an employees-only door with his daughter led to

the evacuation of about 200 people from the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena

Airport.

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The evacuation occurred about 9 a.m. Tuesday after an airport

employee spotted 39-year-old David Houser of Agoura Hills and his

daughter entering a preflight waiting area via an employees entrance

and alerted authorities, airport police Chief Mike Post said.

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“Apparently, in a brief moment of bad judgment, he saw the

opportunity to enter,” Post said. “But we’re not sure whether he

caught the door when it was closing or if it was ajar, because his

statement was inconsistent.”

The evacuation lasted about 10 minutes, followed by an estimated

30-minute delay while passenger bags were re-screened, Post said.

One flight was delayed by 15 minutes, he said.

Lucy Burghdorf, director of community relations for the airport,

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said Houser was “marginally cooperative” when questioned by airport

police but released because he did not pose a safety threat. Police

did not release the name and the age of the man’s daughter.

“There was no evidence of criminal intent,” Burghdorf said.

Following the incident, airport employees were prohibited from

using the door in question near Gate B5 in the United Airlines

terminal, Post said.

“While we’re reviewing both the policy procedures and the

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technical issues, we’ve taken the door out of service indefinitely

until it’s fixed,” he said.

Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, there have been six

evacuations related to breaches of security, Post said, adding that

none were considered major incidents. He called Tuesday’s incident an

aberration.

“For the first time in my career, I got a commending e-mail from a

traveler saying that [the evacuation] went very well,” he said.


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