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Reasons for Data Center Fire and Explosion Analysis

Abstract: In the information age, the importance of data centers is self-evident. Once a data center catches fire, it will cause huge trouble for users. This article analyzes the reasons for data center fires and explosions by examining the explosion incident at Google's data center in Iowa.

Recently, a piece of news broke into the hot search:

On the afternoon of the 8th local time in the United States, an explosion occurred at Google's data center in Council Bluffs, Iowa, injuring three employees. It is reported that Google has 14 data centers in the United States and 23 worldwide. The center in Council Bluffs, Iowa, was put into use in 2009 and cost 3.3 billion USD, making it one of Google's largest data centers.

Almost every year, we can see news about data center fires.

In 2021, a serious fire broke out at the data center of OVH, a European cloud computing giant, located in Strasbourg, the capital of the French region of Bas-Rhin. OVH is one of the largest cloud service companies in Europe. Also in the same year, a fire at the WebNX hosting company's Ogden data center in Utah, USA, caused some IT services in Ogden to fail on Sunday and Monday.

In August 2020, Telstra, an Australian telecommunication company, suffered a fire in its London-based hosting data center due to a UPS failure, causing the system to crash.

In August 2018, a fire broke out at Amazon's AWS Tokyo data center, which burned for eight hours, causing five deaths, fifty injuries, and the destruction of about one-third of the building!


The data center is a complex facility that includes not only computer systems and other supporting equipment (such as communication and storage systems), but also redundant data communication connections, environmental control equipment, monitoring equipment, and various security devices. The sudden outbreak of the epidemic has greatly enhanced the flow of digital data and the need for strong data centers to support the computing, transmission, and storage of data as remote work and collaboration became prevalent. We must pay attention to the security of data center transceiver.

In the information age, the importance of data centers is self-evident. If a data center is destroyed, all data may be affected, causing irreparable consequences. The large number of data center equipment, high power consumption, multiple cables in the data center, and complex cabling are all reasons why data centers are prone to fires. Since we own an optical transceiver factory, we understand that data center security has become a concern for many people. So, what are the reasons why data centers may explode? The following is a summary based on my research:

Short circuits in data centers:

It is rare and the probability of causing a fire is very low.

Overload of data centers:

The equipment in the computer room cannot meet the user's needs, and it is easy to add equipment in the computer room. However, the load of the cable is not easily transformed, thus causing the cable to overload and overheat, leading to a fire.

Failure to replace old equipment in data centers in time:

Especially when the cable runs under high load for a long time, if the cable is not replaced in time, it is easy to cause the insulation layer of the cable to melt due to high temperature, causing a short circuit and resulting in a fire.

Fire caused by UPS batteries in data centers:

After the battery catches fire, the smoke quickly spreads throughout the computer room. Even if it is not in the same computer room, the smoke can quickly occupy the computer room through the channel connecting the rooms.

Large amounts of dust in data centers:

Due to long-term operation of the equipment, coupled with poor environment, if the dust is not cleaned up in time, it is easy to cause high-temperature alarms of the equipment and lead to a fire.

Impact of high temperature and thunderstorm weather on data centers:

In addition to the common electrical fire, in the current summer, weather conditions such as high temperature and thunderstorms may also cause fires at data centers. The electromagnetic effects generated by lightning discharges can generate voltages as high as hundreds of thousands or even millions of volts, which can burn power lines and equipment, cause insulation breakdown, lead to short circuits, and cause fires. The thermal effects, electrostatic induction, and electromagnetic induction generated by lightning discharges can also cause fires.

Other human factors, etc.

If a data center catches fire, it will cause huge trouble for users. To avoid major safety accidents and ensure the stable operation of infrastructure is also a top priority in data center construction. Data center security protection cannot be solved by temporary solutions. A complete set of mechanisms for site selection, protection, disaster relief, and disaster recovery must be formed to solve data center security issues from the root. Wish the world to be free of digital disasters!

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