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Schiphol Scare

An explosion and two fires forced the evacuation of Amsterdam's Schiphol airport on Sunday, delaying about 40 arriving flights an hour and some departing flights, local police and an airport spokeswoman said.

"The fire is under control. There were no injuries," said a policeman with the Haarlemmermeer regional force that includes Schiphol, Europe's fourth busiest airport.

An airport spokesman said one minor case of smoke inhalation had been reported.

By 1850 GMT (2:50 p.m. EDT), all train and road traffic was running again, but only about 20 flights per hour were landing, compared to the normal 60 per hour. Outbound flights were experiencing slight delays, he said.

"It was an explosion in the Burger King restaurant and separate fire in the second floor of an office building," the policeman said. The restaurant explosion also created a large fire.

It started in a french fryer.

Workers at the Burger King restaurant — billed by the company as its busiest outlet in the world — said they jumped over the counter and ran when they heard the explosion in the kitchen.

A Schiphol spokeswoman, Ingrid Pauw, said the blast occurred just after 1530 GMT (11:30 a.m. EDT). The office fire came just after the explosion, she added.

"No one was injured. We closed the airport just to make sure it wasn't more dangerous," said Fire Chief Pieter Heere. Damage was minimal, mostly to the restaurant's ventilation system.

Eli van Goudoever said he was serving customers at the counter when he heard a terrifying noise from the kitchen. "We had the feeling that the roof was caving in," he said. "I jumped over the counter. Everyone was in a panic at first."

Hans Reus, who works at an airport shop, said he closed his store when he smelled the smoke, walked into the mall and saw people running from the smoking restaurant. "The police were taking everyone out of the airport," he said, but he saw no one injured.

"I was driving along the road to the airport and I first saw some white smoke coming out of the building. Right after that, I saw big flames coming from the roof. It was unbelievable. It all happened so fast," a middle-aged woman told Dutch TV.

Marc-Henri Ahora, returning on a flight from Zurich, walked away from the airport on a bicycle path carrying two heavy bags slung over his shoulders. He said he preferred to walk rather than wait until the airport was reopened for taxis and trains.

Schiphol, the home airport of Royal Dutch KLM airline, is a popular transit point for travelers making connections from Europe to points around the world. Nearly 40 million passengers came through the airport last year. Its shopping plaza has dozens of up-market shops, and tens of thousands of passengers pass through on a typical day.

It was the second fire at the airport this year. In January, Schiphol was closed for several hours after a blast in a toilet in the arrivals hall and a separte fire.

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