1. #1

    Join Date
    Jun 2006

    Post Valuable Lesson Learned in Computer Facility Fire

    Prince George’s County, MD Fire/Emergency Medical Services Department

    Media Advisory

    Extinguishers in Computer Facilities
    Valuable Lesson Learned

    The Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services Department {EMS} recently encountered a fire in major computer facility, owned and operated by a federal government agency, where all of the portable fire extinguishers were found to contain multi-purpose (ABC) dry chemical. This agent is considered to be incompatible with energized electronic equipment, particularly multi-million dollar super-computers.

    The fire, which involved a power supply in a small section of the supercomputer, was quickly controlled, however there was great concern about the potential for secondary damage resulting from the dry chemical agent, which had been used to extinguish the fire. The estimated value of the computer is more than $30 million, however the actual damage was ultimately determined to be in the vicinity of $100,000. The service interruption caused by the fire was also a concern, however, the agency was ably to shift the processing of critical programs to other federal computer facilities until service is restored.

    As a result of this incident, the federal agency has moved quickly to replace all of the extinguishers in the computer area with agents that are compatible with extremely valuable electronic equipment. Fire Departments should take note of the potential high-tech damage that can be caused by use of multi-purpose {ABC} dry chemical.

    For any additional information you may contact Mark Brady, Public Information Officer, at mebrady@pg.md.us

  2. #2
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Those of us in the fire extinguisher buisness were aware of the damage that can be done to sensitave electronic equipment with multi-purpose dry chemical. Normally CO2, Halon (or one of it's similar replacments) would have been reccomended for that hazard area. Amerex Fire Equipment has even come out with a "new" clean agent that has been around for years, water. It is distilled, and applied in a fine mist, it is class 2A, C rated. Once the water dries, there is no residue to deal with, and the equipment can be put back into service if it wasn't burned. The biggest problem we find, is that the customer doesn't want the added inital cost of a special use fire extinguisher. It goes back to the "it won't happen to me" thinking.

    Roger Ellis, Capt. Speedway Fire/Rescue

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