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Airport fire delays Friday morning flights

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Two flights were delayed Friday morning at the La Crosse Regional Airport after a deicing truck caught fire while deicing a plane.

The airport, which has its own fire department, responded to the fire at 7:35 a.m. when the heating elements of American Airlines' deicing truck caused a fire in the engine, assistant airport manager Jason Gillett said. The fire was quickly extinguished, but the engine continued to smoke for several minutes.

The La Crosse Fire Department was also on scene. No one was injured in the fire.

“The heat and the wind really kept the smoke pouring out of it (the engine) for a while,” he said.

An American Airlines flight, that was scheduled to depart at 7:45 a.m. to Chicago, didn't take off until about 8:45 and a Delta flight, which was headed for Minneapolis at 7:15 didn't leave until about 8:40.

Gillett said the incident won’t affect upcoming flights, but the deicing truck will be temporarily out of commission. The exact cause of the fire is still under investigation.

“In the meantime, American Airlines is going to use Delta's deicing truck until they decide if they're going to fix or replace the one that's damaged,” he said. “This is the only truck they have.”

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