Toronto bell canada central office fire

David Lesher wb8foz at
Sun Jul 18 18:37:58 UTC 1999

Unnamed Administration sources reported that Sean Donelan said:
> One of the lessons from the Los Angeles CO fire was the danger to
> firefighters with fires in telecommunication facilities.  Fortunately
> such fires are rare.  But that rarity means few departments have any
> experience with such fires.  Hinsdale was a wake up call for the
> telecommunications industry, L.A. was a wake up call for the fire
> service.  Five years later, NFPA, AT&T and Telcordia (bellcore) are
> still debating what should be done.  For the most part, the experience
> has not yet reached down to either the local fire departments or the
> people building data and telecommunication facilities.

This report mentions:
	However, no automatic power shutdown systems 
	are currently available..
which drags us straight into the comp.risks area.

Telco systems qualify as ultra-high-reliability and the battery
plant of same is the most basic of those. They spend bigbux$ on
having that -48v there, no matter what. If you now do install a
system that will shut same off, I will bet dollars to donuts it
will false at least once, bringing down an office.

Where do you draw the line?

At the same time, that battery string is a multi-headed monster
to the F/R folks: 

	Ready source of fire - tens of thousands of amps of short
	circuit current for the taking;

	Explosion potential -- both from the H2 gas and just steam
	from a short.

	Goodly quantities of acid and lead to fly/spill/etc. While
	the acid is not instantly lethal, and can be mitigated
	readily [LOTS of water ASAP]; the cleanup after & 2nd
	order effects are significant...

	Redundancy -- FD may kill the power at the service
	entrance and keep the generator for starting; but that
	battery short circuit is still glowing.

But the biggest issue is perhaps not the above but social.

In decades past, the only place with a 2000 A-H -48v string was
a Telephone Company building, with Telephone Company rules and
craft people. Much as I despised dealing with them; they had a
Book and followed it. They wrote their Book after attending the
School of Hard Knocks. It showed.

Now, there are THOUSANDS of folks in a city with UPS+battery
installations, and dozens with "Big Enough To Be Afraid Of"
ones. Yet there is no regulatory heritage as in the 60Hz arena;
and the designers are sometimes ..suspect... in their experience,
not having the worshiped, or maybe even seen, the Book. The city
inspector never saw the battery rooms @ TPC, so he's equally

(Terry Kennedy talks of being asked to consult on one job and
after one look, putting as much distance between them and him
as possible.)

In short, This Stuff Will Kill You, and needs a specialized
designer as much as your billing code and java pages do....
and such are not found in the Yellow Pages. Beware.

A host is a host from coast to coast.................wb8foz at
& no one will talk to a host that's close........[v].(301) 56-LINUX
Unless the host (that isn't close).........................pob 1433
is busy, hung or dead....................................20915-1433

More information about the NANOG mailing list