Home > Electrical Fire, Industrial > CALGARY: Electrical Fire shuts down 911 service, Radio and More

CALGARY: Electrical Fire shuts down 911 service, Radio and More

CALGARY, CANADA:  An electrical fire at Shaw Communications’ downtown headquarters  has wiped out radio stations, internet service, 911 service in the core, cable  TV service and much of city hall’s phone system.

Fire crews were called early Wednesday afternoon for a two-alarm incident at  Shaw Court at 630 3rd Ave. S.W. Calgary Fire spokesman Jayson Doyscher said the  incident appears to be in an electrical room on the 13th floor.

The building’s employees were evacuated, but EMS said they were not treating  any patients.

Shaw’s corporate base is also the nerve centre for several major  communications servers, it turns out. The Alberta Emergency Alert network said  around 4 p.m. that the incident has disrupted 911 services to up to 30,000 of  Shaw’s land line customers in downtown Calgary. It urged users to call 911 by  cellphone if necessary.

Alberta Health Services’ network has also gone down, said Bruce Burrell, the  city’s emergency operations chief.

The City of Calgary has also initiated its municipal emergency plan, as its  311 hotline and many of its office phones had gone down.

The city has set up a temporary line to replace 311 — 403-695-3255 — but  cautioned that its capacity is limited and should only be used for “priority” problems like dog bites, street light outages or similarly urgent issues.

The outage also extends to downtown landlines and debit machines at stores  and banks.

Three radio stations – Country 105, AM 770 and Q 107 – are housed in Shaw  Court and were tossed off-air.

“This thing was major,” said Garry McKenzie, regional general manager for  Corus Entertainment. “It was big and took everybody down.”

Engineers scrambled to turn listeners onto feeds from sister stations in  Edmonton.

Radio celebrity Dave Rutherford was amongst the evacuees.

“I was thinking it was one of those rolling blackout deals,” Rutherford said.  “Turns out, maybe not.”

Shaw employees were directed to a nearby park where they were told a problem  with a generator set off the fire suppression system. Staff were also told to go  home and that they would not be able to access the company parkade.

While most employees attributed the speedy evacuation to regular rehearsals,  a few snags were reported.

“When the fire alarms started to go off there was a bit of concern,” said  Shaw employee Colin Morrison. “None of our emergency lighting went back on.”

Nearby businesses were also affected.

Pub owner James Buchanan said an outage crashed debit and credit machines  during the lunch-hour rush.

Service was bogged down as customers were forced to pay in cash or leave  credit card imprints.

“What a massive waste of time,” said the frustrated restauranteer. “It’s  going to make cashing out at the end of the night a pain in the ass.”

Calgary EMS say they are not treating any patients.

Downtown roads are closed to traffic

Story via vancouversun.com

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