Small fire knocks out UC Berkeley’s computers, WiFi

Earl Warren Hall, where the datacenter fire occurred on Friday night. Photo: Google Streetview
Earl Warren Hall, where the datacenter fire occurred on the night of Friday, Sept. 18, 2015. Photo: Google Streetview

A small fire at the UC Berkeley datacenter in Earl Warren Hall on Hearst Avenue on Friday knocked out the campus’ entire computer network from 7 p.m. An overheated server apparently sparked the fire, which in turn triggered the center’s fire suppression system. The Berkeley Fire Department responded to the fire, evacuated the building and ensured that the fire was controlled. No injuries were reported.

“Since the fire shortly after 7 p.m., we’ve been all hands on deck with folks working around the clock,” said university spokesman Roqua Montez. Speaking at 10:20 a.m. on Saturday morning, Montez said the datacenter is back up and storage is mostly back up.

Applications, including CalNet — which enables the university’s many websites — are still down. “We don’t have a timetable for that yet,” Montez said. The university’s WiFi is also still down.

At 9:24 a.m. this morning, according to the university’s system status page, power had been restored, management systems and the network were up, but CalNet and WiFi were still down. According to the system status page, no emails were lost during the outage.


An update on the university’s system status page reported at 9:44 p.m. last night that “most IT systems are currently down due to an overheating issue in the data center. Any system requiring CalNet authentication is also unavailable.”

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