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Utah reporters stuck overnight in Atlanta after power failure



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ATLANTA — A 45-minute layover in Atlanta turned into an overnight stay in the airport when the power failed for two local sports writers covering the Utah Jazz.

For KSL.com's Andy Larsen and the Deseret News’ Jazz beat writer Eric Woodyard, the outage meant getting a new flight to put them into Houston just before tipoff Monday against the Rockets.

Both men were flying from Cleveland where they were covering the Jazz on their six-game road trip.

"I was going from concourse to concourse to get my second flight," said Larsen. “The power went out briefly for a couple of seconds, flipped back on, and then probably 20 seconds after that, shut off for good."

Woodyard said he was lining up for dinner when the power went out.

"As I’m preparing to get a burrito bowl out of Qdoba, the lights just go out," Woodyard said. “It went completely pitch dark.

"I didn’t think it would be that serious. I thought the lights would come right back on."

The power failure at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport lasted seven hours. Terrorism was ruled out, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed told the Atlantic Journal-Constitution.

“At one point, we heard it was a fire, and another point we heard someone knocked the electrical stuff out,” Woodyard said. “There were so many rumors floating around as we sat outside trying to be warm. It was nervewracking."

Both writers met underneath the rain outside with thousands of evacuees. After hours of waiting, they left the airport to find dinner.

Woodyard had family in the area and stayed with them. Larsen returned to the airport where he watched fights for hundred-calorie pretzel packs. They were the only food available.

The power finally returned to Hartsfield-Jackson at midnight.

"I spent the remaining five or six hours that I would be in a hotel room anyway just being at the airport," Larsen said.

He said he had an early-morning flight that put him in Houston just before the Jazz shootaround. Woodyard couldn’t get another flight to Houston until Monday afternoon and said he’s excited to get back to work.

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Peter Samore

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