An airport doesn't have a "grid" with the sort of monitoring and automated power-routing like the transmission line electrical system. The power is out at across multiple terminals because there was likely no power coming in from their primary (and only? feed not because of a cascading failure like the big regional blackouts you reference.
Well, yes and no ... while the utility
doesn't monitor on-premise stuff, the airport
most assuredly does. Not that it did them much good, their equipment most assuredly told them nothing more than a cascading failure that blacked out all their buildings. Maybe, possibly, a fire alarm from the electrical equipment room where the fire occurred.
What the utility
has, is multiple feeds for power into the customer facility (e.g., the airport), and the switching gear necessary to switch between those feeds, as required, to ensure continued power is provided to the customer.
Have you ever heard a BANG! at your house, during a storm, and your lights blinked off for a second or so, then came back on?
That is this type of switching gear doing its job, switching your residential circuit from one feed to another (usually due to a tree/limb falling and a blown transformer or breaker/fuse).
You can very reliably bet that Ga Power knew immediately about the issue at both of their substations, as well as the cessation of energy flow into the airport property. If the equipment on
the airport (where the fire was) was Ga Power equipment, they knew immediately about (at the very least) some kind of issue with that equipment as well. Maybe not that there was a fire, but you can be sure it was shouting all kinds of alarms up the monitoring systems.
Lastly, as to the terminal and concourse buildings going black ... emergency lights (and exit signs) run for a set amount of time on battery, then they're gone.
Most building operations manuals specify evacuation of the building in case of a complete power outage, to ensure everyone is out of the building before the emergency lighting batteries are exhausted.
So if you came into those buildings (e.g. after being stuck on your airplane for 2-4 hours), it's very possible, and quite likely, that all those batteries had exhausted and there was absolutely NO lighting of any kind.
Last edited by litz
on Mon Dec 18, 2017 4:02 am, edited 1 time in total.