Suspicious Item Causes Evacuation at Miami International Airport

Lighter shaped like grenade causes airport evacuation

By Claudia DoCampo and Brian Hamacher
|  Thursday, Apr 18, 2013  |  Updated 11:16 AM EDT
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A section of Miami International Airport was being evacuated early Thursday morning after a suspicious bag or device was found near a checkpoint, an airport official said.

A section of Miami International Airport was being evacuated early Thursday morning after a suspicious bag or device was found near a checkpoint, an airport official said.

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A section of Miami International Airport was evacuated early Thursday morning after a suspicious item was found near a checkpoint, an airport official said.

Police and TSA responded to the incident at Concourse D, MIA spokesman Marc Henderson said.

The area was cleared by Miami-Dade Police's Bomb Unit and later opened back up, officials said.

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According to Miami-Dade Police, a passenger tried to pass through security with a lighter shaped like a grenade.

The passenger, who spoke with reporters but didn't give his name, said he was heading to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on a connecting flight and had forgotten the lighter was in his bag.

He was questioned but won't face charges, officials said.

VIDEO: Suspicious Item Causes Evacuation at Miami Airport

"This incident turned out to be nothing but we can never take chances when we have items that look like weapons or firearms inside the screening checkpoint," Miami Airport Security Director Lauren Stover said. "In this case we had a passenger that had a grenade lighhter and it definitely looked like a grenade and our TSA employees did the right thing in intercepting it."

Henderson said no flights were affected, but the incident was causing heavy traffic delays in the area early Thursday.

Officials advise passengers not to travel with novelty items that look like weapons.

"Not a good thing to bring to an airport," Stover said. "In light of what's happened recently we all have to be vigilant."

Check back with NBC 6 South Florida and NBC6.com for updates.

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