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Airport shutdown blamed on perfume

Air Transportation

(CNN) -- A liquid substance that forced authorities to shut down the Fort Wayne International Airport in Fort Wayne, Indiana, for several hours Wednesday has been determined to be a component used to make perfume, a fire department official said.

The airport reopened to incoming flights around 1:30 p.m. (2:30 p.m. ET), a spokesman for the airport's public safety department told CNN.

American Airlines spokeswoman Lisa Bailey said the liquid spilled from a broken bottle in a package on American's Flight 4271 from Chicago's O'Hare airport.

"'Haz-mat' has told us that there is no biological or chemical threat," Bailey said.

Bob Amber, a spokesman for the Fort Wayne Fire Department, said testing showed that the liquid was a perfume ingredient.

"But at such a strong concentration, there was a very strong aroma," he told CNN in a phone interview.

Airport authority director Tory Richardson said six people had become sick because of the spill, two of them paramedics and four airport employees.

Bailey and Richardson said the FBI has taken over the investigation and told them that the man who owned the bag -- who was not on the flight -- is cooperating.

Bailey said the man had changed his booking to a Wednesday morning flight to Fort Wayne, but his bags had already been cleared and stayed on the earlier flight. She had no information about why he made the change, but told CNN that the Tuesday night flight had originally been scheduled to depart Chicago about 8:30 p.m. but did not leave until after 1 a.m. and speculated that delay could have prompted the change.

Flight 4271 arrived at Fort Wayne at 1:53 a.m., and the 28 passengers and three crew members aboard the 50-seat, twin-engine Embraer ERJ-145 plane got off safely, not exposed to the liquid, Bailey said.

The spill was discovered by three of the airline's agents who checked the baggage claim area at the end of the evening.

"There were a couple of unclaimed bags," Bailey said, "and they pulled them into the baggage office." In one of the bags, "something had obviously leaked in the bag and it had an odd odor."

One of the agents opened the bag, she said, and found "a bottle that had been wrapped in bubble wrap" and became nauseous.

The agents called the airport hazardous materials team, and the airport was shut down for testing.

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