A section inside a Google data center experienced an electrical explosion late Monday (Aug 8) night, injuring workers in a town outside of Omaha, Nebraska.
Reports said it was a large electrical explosion that took place at 11:59 am (local time) on Monday. The explosion critically injured three electricians, Google and the Council Bluffs Police Department said. The injured electricians were reportedly rushed to a nearby medical center for treatment.
The Council Bluffs data center was built in 2007 and now employs more than 900 people.
On Tuesday (Aug 9) morning, several Google services, including Search and Trends, experienced widespread outages.
“Three workers were accessing an electrical cabinet when there was an arc flash that resulted in all three being burned,” Justin James, the fire chief in Council Bluffs, told CBS MoneyWatch. “All were transported to the trauma center for care.” A company spokesperson said in a statement Tuesday said that Google experienced outages in its search engine yesterday, but that they were due to an “internal error” unrelated to the incident in Iowa.
“We’re aware of a software update issue that occurred late this afternoon Pacific Time and briefly affected availability of Google Search and Maps, and we apologize for the inconvenience,” a Google spokesperson said. Google has 14 data centers in the U.S., including a second one in the Omaha suburb of Papillion, Nebraska.
An arc flash is a sudden burst of light and heat that happens when a powerful electrical current travels through a conductor, misses its intended destination and ends up on the ground. The heat emitted from an arc flash can get as high as 35,000 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
This is not the first time Google’s data center has experienced outages. In July, Google Cloud data center in London faced an outage during UK’s hottest day.