Smoke rising from an Amazon data center construction site in Ashburn, Virginia. A fire broke out on the building's roof on January 9, 2015 (Photo: Rob Johnston)

Smoke rising from an Amazon data center construction site in Ashburn, Virginia. A fire broke out on the building's roof on January 9, 2015 (Photo: Rob Johnston)

Amazon Data Center Construction Fire Linked to Welding Mishap

The cause of this morning’s roof fire at an Amazon Web Services data center construction site in Ashburn, Virginia, has been traced to a welding mishap, local fire officials said.

The contractor that is building the facility at 21263 Smith Switch Road has estimated the damage from the fire to range from $75,000 to $100,000, according to a statement issued by the Loudoun County Fire, Rescue and Emergency Management.

The workers on site were welding roof components from inside the structure, “which ignited nearby combustibles,” the official statement read. The combustibles were construction materials stored on the roof.

Roof fire at an Amazon data center construction site in Ashburn, Virginia, was contained, with no reported injuries. (Photo: Rob Johnston)

Roof fire at an Amazon data center construction site in Ashburn, Virginia, was contained, with no reported injuries. (Photo: Rob Johnston)

An AWS spokesperson confirmed this morning that the fire happened at the site where a third party contractor was building a data center for the cloud services company. The data center was not in production, so the fire did not affect any AWS users, she said. The contractor’s name was not disclosed.

As we have reported earlier, a developer called Corporate Office Properties Trust, has been building a data center for Amazon in the area.

About 100 emergency personnel responded to the scene. They brought the bulk of the fire, which did not spread beyond the roof, under control around 11:20 a.m.

Workers who were on the roof when the fire broke out were able to get out of danger’s way safely.

Firemen on the roof of the future Amazon Web Services data center in Ashburn, Virginia, after fire was contained (Photo: Rich Miller)

Firemen on the roof of the future Amazon Web Services data center in Ashburn, Virginia, after fire was contained (Photo: Rich Miller)

A smartphone video of the fire was uploaded to YouTube this morning:

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About the Author

San Francisco-based business and technology journalist. Editor in chief at Data Center Knowledge, covering the global data center industry.

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