Comcast Sees Widespread Outage after Fresno Fire

November 25, 2015

By Tara Seals - Contributing Writer

Outages can be caused by many things, some of them more dangerous than others. Case in point: Comcast’s (News - Alert) Fresno, Calif., facility saw a widespread outage for several hours last week due to an electrical fire.

In a good reminder of why back-up power and facilities are important. the fire, which broke out about 6:30 a.m. on Nov. 18, caused electrical control panels at the Fresno “head-in” technical facility to be damaged. That put the lights out, and caused outages of Internet, TV and telephone services for local customers in areas that included Visalia, Modesto, Sacramento and the Bay Area.

Company spokesman Bryan Byrd told the Sacramento Bee that at first, only portions of Fresno were affected, but disruptions became more widespread. Some customers lost their Internet service but kept their TV and phone services, or vice versa, he said. Phone (News - Alert) service disruptions in Sacramento and the Bay Area were linked to the Fresno fire, but those two areas did not lose TV or Internet service.

Byrd did not know how many customers were affected.

“It took out video services to the area and impacted phone and Internet,” Byrd said. “It was the control panel that caught on fire. The building was not on fire.”

The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office said it was getting “many 911 calls for a Comcast cable/internet outage.” The Sheriff’s Office added in a message on Twitter (News - Alert): “This is NOT an emergency. Please use 911 responsibly.”

Repairs were made by mid-afternoon and service was fully restored by 3:45 p.m.

Byrd said he has worked for Comcast for 10 years and knows of no similar case of a fire causing widespread outages in California—a state of affairs that is worth keeping in mind when weighing whether to invest in a back-up power source. If Comcast had equipment like an unlimited power source (UPS) from Minuteman, there would have been an alternative to the damaged power panels. The Minuteman Entrust (News - Alert) LCD Series UPS for instance provides users all the features usually available in higher-priced UPS products to protect your valuable equipment: automatic voltage regulation, spike and surge protection, and battery backup, all in a surprisingly compact package.

Edited by Rory J. Thompson

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