TSA: Hazardous material shuts Bakersfield airport

January 5, 2010 10:25:24 AM PST
Federal officials suspended flights Tuesday to and from Bakersfield airport after hazardous material was found in luggage. Officials said it did not appear to be a terrorist-related incident.

"It sounds like, at this point, it's a hazmat issue; it's not terrorist-related or anything like that," said Suzanne Trevino, spokeswoman for the Transportation Security Administration. "It's not a bomb."

The unidentified material was discovered in a checked bag at Meadows Field.

Bakersfield Fire Chief Nick Dunn said it was in a bottle that released fumes. Two TSA officers who were exposed to the fumes were taken to a hospital for evaluation.

The discovery closed down the airport around 8:20 a.m., with officials calling in a hazardous material crew. A bomb squad also was dispatched to the airport as a precaution.

At least one SkyWest Airlines flight from San Francisco was diverted to Los Angeles.

The discovery came less than two weeks after a man was charged with trying to destroy a Northwest Airlines flight as it approached Detroit. He is alleged to have smuggled an explosive device on board the aircraft and set if off, but the device sparked only a fire and not the intended explosion.

Airline security has been tightened since the arrest.