A small fire in the generator room of a Maryland State Police building caused a data center outage Friday, interrupting state troopers’ access to central crime databases, the Baltimore Sun reported.
The data center was running on generator power during routine IT maintenance work when a small fire in the generator room activated fire sprinklers, which in turn caused the generator to shut down.
The state police website was down on Friday afternoon.
A police spokeswoman told the Sun that the data center outage interrupted access to shared documents for police staff around the state. Crews were bringing the system back online using a portable backup generator, she said.
Backing up important data at remote sites or using cloud backup to maintain access during a primary data center outage is part of IT best practices. It is unclear whether Baltimore state police has such backup in place.
Data center outages caused by fire are rare, but they do occur once in a while.
One of the major recent examples was a big fire at a Samsung data center in South Korea in April, which affected network access for Samsung device users around the world.
In April of 2013, Macomb County, Michigan, lost IT services after a fire in the building that housed its data center.
This November, a fire at a warehouse in Thailand destroyed what was estimated to have been millions of dollars’ worth of bitcoin mining servers.