By Andy Metzger
State House News Service
BOSTON -- "Just dumb" is how Gov. Deval Patrick described firefighting exercises that occurred at Logan International Airport on Wednesday, the 12th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that involved flights from Logan.
"It's just dumb. I mean, the timing could not be worse," Patrick told reporters at about noon on Wednesday.
Asked by a reporter about the exercises, he said he had "just heard about that" and said he didn't know it was going to happen.
The Massachusetts Port Authority, which oversees Logan, apologized to the public for the exercise, which included smoke on the airfield.
"Massport apologizes for conducting the fire training exercise and understands that it may have offended many of those touched by the events of Sept. 11," read a statement from Massport. "Safety and security is our top priority and constant vigilance and readiness is critical, but the exercise should not have taken place on the anniversary of 9/11. The airport community recognizes the day with moments of silence, a service in the chapel, and a wreath at the 9/11 memorial."
The weather-dependent training is performed dozens of times a year and involves burning a metal cylinder that resembles a fuselage, according to an official. Three departments participated in the training Wednesday, and Logan is the only active airport training facility in New England, the official said.
"I know and have a tremendous amount of confidence in the leadership at Massport, and I have to believe that they just didn't catch this," Patrick said after a meeting of the Governor's Council.
He said: "To people who experienced 9/11, many of whom work at Massport, I just feel so sorry."