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Service Restored After Day-Long Internet Outage Due To Fire At AT&T Facility

NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) - AT&T had restored internet service to all customers late Monday night after an electrical fire at one of its facilities early Monday morning.

An AT&T spokesperson released the following statement late Monday night: "Our technicians have restored service for internet customers in the Dallas area after service was interrupted by a fire at one of our facilities earlier today."

AT&T's Uverse TV service is working again as well.

Earlier Monday, AT&T tweeted out that a lightning strike had caused the fire and subsequent outage. But a spokesman told CBS 11 News that they haven't confirmed what sparked the blaze.

"Damage caused by a fire at one of our facilities may be affecting internet services for some of our customers in the Dallas area. We are working to restore service as quickly as possible," said an AT&T spokesperson.

The Richardson Fire Department responded to the fire at the data center on Firman Drive around 9:45 a.m., eventually clearing the scene after two hours.

"We left crews on scene to evacuate the smoke. When that plastic burns, it's pretty nasty smoke, so we made sure it was out of the building and that the fire was out," said Richardson Fire Chief Curtis Poovey.

The fire started at a power switch and burned primary and backup electrical systems. The fire department said it was an "undetermined electrical fire," and that there's no indication weather was a factor.

Customers within the city of Richardson were impacted by the outage, specifically their internet and Uverse. The company hasn't said exactly how many customers were affected.

No one was hurt.

There was plenty of juicy brisket at Lockhart Smokehouse, but there was no internet to run the register for credit card transactions during the outage.

The Bishop Arts barbeque restaurant survived on good, old fashioned cash.

"Luckily we have an ATM that's down the hallway so we were just telling everyone, 'I'm sorry, I apologize but we do have an ATM so just cash,' " said Diana Gaytan of Lockhart Smokehouse. 

Lockhart is one of possibly millions of AT&T customers who lost internet service Monday.

"Just seems like a larger company like AT&T, I thought they'd have secure back ups or somewhere where you could stream from a second location," said Sean Kim, a customer at Lockhart.

AT&T wouldn't tell CBS 11 News if it had a back up, but a telecommunications expert, Jaime Zarate, who worked for AT&T said, probably not.

"AT&T has a phenomenal global network, it has a lot of redundancy built into it," said Zarate. "What's obvious is something in the way that they configured their Dallas internet service for their business and residential customers did not have redundancy, so it was exposed in some way. Sometimes they make business decision to maybe offer some kind of service in this area at the cost of maybe not having redundancy."

Zarate says an investigation into the fire is crucial in determining more since data centers are supposed to be more secure, and more resistant to fires.



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