SlideshowExclusive Photos: Fire to the Node, Part II
Phil Harvey
1/22/2008



Last week, Light Reading broke the news that AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) has set out to replace the 17,000 Avestor batteries providing backup power to its U-verse network equipment cabinets in neighborhoods all over America. (See AT&T Begins Massive Battery Replacement.)

The carrier's decision came as a shock for two reasons. First, AT&T's actions fly in the face of the independent test it used to claim that the batteries in its VRAD (video-ready access device) cabinets were safe and stable. (See AT&T: Defect Caused VRAD Explosion.)

Second, though AT&T had previously suggested the incidents involving its equipment cabinets in Houston were isolated events, our reporting uncovered two more incidents -- a fire in Cleveland and a violent explosion in a Milwaukee suburb. After four incidents in two years, AT&T is finally addressing the public safety concerns raised in the first battery explosion of October 2006.

The most recent equipment incident occurred on December 25, 2007, when a cabinet at the corner of 64th Street and North Avenue in Wauwatosa, Wis., exploded and burned violently, according to city officials and a blog post on SaveAccess.

Light Reading has obtained the photos of the Wauwatosa equipment explosion, as well as witness statements and fire department reports. These exclusive photos include some pictures of the fire in progress, as photographed by an alert resident, and several pictures of the charred remains of AT&T's gear.

To begin the photo slideshow, click here:

To skip straight to the photos of the damaged cabinet taken from inside AT&T's storage yard, on December 26, 2007, start the slideshow here:

For photos of the new, replacement cabinet, start the slideshow here:

For our earlier slideshow in this series, which included exclusive photos of the October 2006 equipment cabinet explosion in Houston, please see: Exclusive Photos: Fire to the Node.

— Phil Harvey, Editor, Light Reading



Broadband on Fire
This photo shows the AT&T VRAD cabinet fully engulfed in flames,
just after midnight on December 25, 2007.
Photo by Wauwatosa resident David Furru.


Front Door
Here's the VRAD cabinet's front door. Photo by Wauwatosa Fire Department.


Inside View
Here's an inside view of the burned cabinet, before it was removed from its pedestal.
Photo by the Wauwatosa Fire Department.


That's Hot
The Wauwatosa FD fire log says this is a closeup of the lithium battery pack.
Photo by the Wauwatosa Fire Department.


Vinyl Drippings
A day after the fire, a new cabinet is in place. But the building's window
has one missing shutter, and a melted one, too.


Side View
Here's a side view of the building. Other than the shutter damage and some interior water damage,
not much harm came to the structure, officials said. Photo by the Wauwatosa Fire Department.


AT&T Storage
Here's the cabinet carcass at the AT&T storage yard on December 26.
Photo by the Wauwatosa Fire Department.


AT&T Storage, II
Here's the bottom of the cabinet remains, as photographed in the AT&T storage yard.
That looks to be the remains of the battery. Photo by the Wauwatosa Fire Department.


AT&T Storage, III
Another closeup of the wreckage. Could almost be conceptual art, eh?
Photo by the Wauwatosa Fire Department.


AT&T Storage Yard, IV
The fire department photo log calls this "unidentified debris." We concur.
Photo by the Wauwatosa Fire Department.


Dead Door
The front cabinet door was found about five feet southwest of the cabinet.
Photo by the Wauwatosa Fire Department.


Blowing the Doors Off
Here's an exterior photo of the right side door. Note that the padlock is still in place.
Photo by the Wauwatosa Fire Department.


Locked Up
Padlock closeup, as requested by the padlock's agent. Photo by the Wauwatosa Fire Department.


Smoky Door
Here's the exterior of the front door of the cabinet. Again, note the door appears locked, and that the smoke passed through the vents prior to the explosion. Photo by the Wauwatosa Fire Department.


Locked Up
Yep, it's locked. Another sign the door was blasted off.


More Damage
Another bit of modern art. Photo by the Wauwatosa Fire Department.


Front Door
Here's an interior view of the front door. The fire department's photo log says the lack of high heat damage suggests it was sent sailing. Photo by the Wauwatosa Fire Department.


Product Numbers
This closeup of the inside of the front door, shows that the product information is still readable.
Photo by the Wauwatosa Fire Department.


Merry Christmas
Well, look. Ma Bell showed up on Christmas morning with a brand new VRAD cabinet.


New Cabinet
Fresh paint, new padlocks, and no explosives. How nice. Photo by the Wauwatosa Fire Department.


Inside the VRAD
This photo of the new cabinet was taken for reference, so the fire department could determine
what the thing was supposed to look like. Photo by the Wauwatosa Fire Department.


New Cabinet, Side Door
Photo by the Wauwatosa Fire Department.


Another Burning View
Photo by Wauwatosa resident David Furru.


Fire Closeup
It's no wonder residents initially thought the whole building was ablaze.
Photo by Wauwatosa resident David Furru.


Fire's Out
After the fire, this photo reveals the relative location of the AT&T cabinet and electrical pedestal.
Photo by the Wauwatosa Fire Department.


Time for Marshmallows
Another shot of the blaze, as it was in progress, by Wauwatosa resident David Furru.


Side Door
This side door was found four feet from the cabinet, according to the fire department's photo log.
According to fire personnel, "the door was attached and dislodged during the fire attack."
Photo by the Wauwatosa Fire Department.


North Side
Here's the north side of the cabinet, post fire. Photo by the Wauwatosa Fire Department.


Your Door Is Ajar
Inside of the front door, just after the fire.
(2)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Copyright © 2018 Light Reading - an Informa business, trading within KNect365 US, Inc. All rights reserved.
Privacy Policy | Cookie Policy | Terms of Use