& cplSiteName &

AT&T Confirms Second VRAD Fire

Phil Harvey

The AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) investigation into an exploding VRAD cabinet may be over, but (sadly for my editors) the story lives on. (See AT&T: Defect Caused VRAD Explosion.)

The carrier this morning has provided details of a second incident involving Avestor's batteries, the ones that were said to be the cause of an October 2006 broadband equipment cabinet explosion in suburban Houston. (See AT&T Investigates DSLAM Explosion, AT&T Still Digging on DBLAM!, AT&T Eyes Batteries in Explosion Probe, and Exclusive Photos: Fire to the Node.)

The initial VRAD (video-ready access device) explosion occurred in the 8200 block of Clover Gardens Drive. This second incident, a VRAD that caught fire but didn't explode, happened in January 2007 -- "20 miles away" from the first mishap, according to AT&T. Light Reading hasn't been able to determine the exact address. Yet.

"A similar battery produced a small fire in another cabinet, but it was nowhere near the magnitude of the first incident. Both cases were studied in the investigation," writes an AT&T spokesman in an email to Light Reading this morning.

Our query on this new incident was sparked by AT&T's statement yesterday concerning the conclusion of its investigation into the safety of the Avestor batteries in its network.

Given that AT&T has 17,000 Avestor batteries in its network, and this latest admission of a "small fire" involved hazardous materials, some say the investigation, though closed, has suddenly become more alarming. "There's no such thing as a small fire in a residential neighborhood, especially when the fuel is a lithium metal polymer battery," says an industry analyst who asked not to be named.

AT&T says its investigation, conducted by Exponent Inc., found that "the incidents in Houston were most likely caused by a manufacturing defect in those two batteries."

The two batteries referred to were housed in two different VRAD cabinets, 20 miles apart, in the same city within a few months of each other. But, the carrier says, apart from those two batteries, all else is well. In its statement, published earlier today, AT&T said "the battery design was sound, as were the safety features," and concluded that "the risk of hazardous failures with this battery is as low, if not lower, than the risk with alternative batteries, which are used by other telecommunications and cable companies in similar applications."

"Outside of these two incidents, there have been no similar incidents involving these batteries," AT&T's spokesman writes via email.

— Phil Harvey, Fire Marshal, Light Reading

(3)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:03:30 PM
re: AT&T Confirms Second VRAD Fire
Lite Rock
Lite Rock,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:03:30 PM
re: AT&T Confirms Second VRAD Fire
Hey Look kids it's Fire Marshall Phil!!


I feel your pain Phil. This is the kind of stuff that the AT&Ts of the world wish would just go away.

Maybe we should call these things Combustion Ready Access Platform (CRAP).

Keep the heat on!!

User Rank: Light Sabre
12/5/2012 | 3:03:29 PM
re: AT&T Confirms Second VRAD Fire

U-Verse: Bringing smores to your TV viewing.

Featured Video
From The Founder
Light Reading founder Steve Saunders talks with VMware's Shekar Ayyar, who explains why cloud architectures are becoming more distributed, what that means for workloads, and why telcos can still be significant cloud services players.
Flash Poll
Upcoming Live Events
May 14-16, 2018, Austin Convention Center
May 14, 2018, Brazos Hall, Austin, Texas
September 24-26, 2018, Westin Westminster, Denver
October 9, 2018, The Westin Times Square, New York
October 23, 2018, Georgia World Congress Centre, Atlanta, GA
November 7-8, 2018, London, United Kingdom
November 8, 2018, The Montcalm by Marble Arch, London
November 15, 2018, The Westin Times Square, New York
December 4-6, 2018, Lisbon, Portugal
All Upcoming Live Events
Hot Topics
Is Gmail Testing Self-Destructing Messages?
Mitch Wagner, Mitch Wagner, Editor, Enterprise Cloud, Light Reading, 4/13/2018
BDAC Blowback – Ex-Chair Arrested
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 4/17/2018
Verizon: Lack of Interoperability, Consistency Slows Automation
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 4/18/2018
AT&T Exec Dishes That He's Not So Hot on Rival-Partner Comcast
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 4/19/2018
Comcast, Netflix Cozy Up in New Deal
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 4/13/2018
Animals with Phones
I Heard There Was a Dresscode... Click Here
Live Digital Audio

A CSP's digital transformation involves so much more than technology. Crucial – and often most challenging – is the cultural transformation that goes along with it. As Sigma's Chief Technology Officer, Catherine Michel has extensive experience with technology as she leads the company's entire product portfolio and strategy. But she's also no stranger to merging technology and culture, having taken a company — Tribold — from inception to acquisition (by Sigma in 2013), and she continues to advise service providers on how to drive their own transformations. This impressive female leader and vocal advocate for other women in the industry will join Women in Comms for a live radio show to discuss all things digital transformation, including the cultural transformation that goes along with it.

Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed