Recovering From A Data Center Fire in 16 Hours

Fire in the data center. They’re scary words, and they should be. Fires and smoke events have led to some serious data center outages.

But a fire doesn’t have to be a showstopper, according to Robert Von Wolffradt, the Chief Information Officer for the state of Iowa. “Here’s what happened and how we responded when an electrical fire took down our primary data center last month,” Von Wolffradt writes at Government Technology, presenting a step-by-step walkthrough of how stateIT COO Matt Behrens and his team assessed the damage, determined their best options and brought the data center back online just 16 hours after the incident.

“Shortly after 5 p.m., I was escorted into the data center with our top-notch general services staff by the fire department,” Von Wolffradt writes. “General services quickly identified the source of the fire – a wall-mounted electrical suppression unit. The smell from the FM-200 fire suppression discharge was incredibly pungent. Since all power was off, the first issues were restoring power (and bypassing the failure point) and venting the data center. This took some engineering because the air conditioning chillers were on the same emergency power shut off as all of the other equipment in the center.”

Read his entire account at

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About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.

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