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Wednesday November 15, 2000

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CCIT explosion shuts down server

By Ayse Guner

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Payroll, telnet services disrupted

A computer power supply exploded in the Center for Computing Information Technology yesterday, shutting down the entire network system and possibly delaying university payroll this week, officials said.

CCIT was evacuated at 3:20 p.m. after an explosion of one of two UPS batteries in the machinery room. No one was injured.

The explosion caused a loud sound followed by smoke coming out of the battery cabinet, said Maria Wirtz, a computer operator, who was in the room during the incident.

"It sounded like something fell out of the ceiling," Wirtz said. "I said, 'It's for real, let's get out of here.'"

Wirtz has been working in CCIT for 20 years and said this is the first time a battery exploded.

UPS - uninterruptible power supply - receives electric power from Tucson Electric Power and distributes to each system in the CCIT network. UPS also regulates the electricity for consistency of the system and has the power to run CCIT's 60 computers in case of a city power shutdown.

The cause of the explosion is unclear, as is the cost of the damage at this time, said Craig Cook, computer operations manager. Until an electrician from Leibert in Phoenix, the UPS manufacturing company, assesses the battery, the system will be down, he added.

The unit itself costs $180,000, said Collen Morgan, facilities project manager.

The systems that are operated at CCIT include the student information system, SABIO, payroll, telnet, email and other instructional servers.

"We are trying to get the minimum of those services back up and get the payroll," Cook said. "I don't know anything right now."

When the battery exploded, the system was automatically shut down, Cook added.

Tucson Fire Department and UAPD officials arrived at the scene around 3:30 p.m., and the fire in the computer room was put out about an hour later.

The computer room will be closed indefinitely for assessment, Cook added.