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Calgary Fire Causes Chaos for Shaw’s Phone, Internet Customers Across Western Canada

Phillip Dampier July 12, 2012 Canada, Consumer News, Public Policy & Gov't, Shaw, Video No Comments

Some 30,000 Shaw customers, mostly in Calgary, spent much of yesterday without phone service, and many more western Canadians experienced Internet problems as a result of a small electrical fire at a Shaw Communications facility in downtown Calgary.

Described by a news report as “chaos,” the fire also brought down at least three Calgary radio stations, an area bank’s ATM network, hospital communications, government offices, and Calgary’s 311 government information service.

A transformer fire on the 13th floor at Shaw’s Calgary headquarters, combined with the sprinkler system that put the fire out, proved the old adage that water and electricity don’t mix. Calgary’s power company disconnected electrical service to the building, creating additional outages for corporate customers who use Shaw’s data center, also inside the building.

As a result of the fire and its impact, Calgary officials decided to activate the city’s municipal emergency plan.

Shaw’s Internet service problems were felt as far away as Vancouver, according to news reports. As of late this afternoon, Shaw’s website is still offline.

While phone service has largely been restored, everything is not back to normal at Shaw’s headquarters, where many workers were turned away as late as this afternoon. Several streets around the building remained closed as of this morning.

Calgary Emergency Management Agency director Bruce Burrell called the incident “a major telecommunications failure,” and noted it was felt across the province and beyond.

Shaw joined local and provincial officials to assess the incident and the fire department response, as well as reviewing its impact.

It has been a difficult week for Calgary and Alberta generally. On Monday, just as the Calgary Stampede Rodeo fired into high gear, Alberta’s electricity companies began rolling blackouts after six power generators went down.

Questions are being raised about the impact of both events.

[flv width=”616″ height=”380″]http://www.phillipdampier.com/video/CTV Shaw Service Disrupted 7-12-12.flv[/flv]

CTV Calgary covers the impact of the fire at Shaw Communications’ headquarters in Calgary, Alb. and the cleanup still ongoing.  (6 minutes)

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