Fire in downtown Seattle data center knocks out businesses, online services

A fire that started at around 11:15 PDT Thursday night has taken a wide assortment of Seattle businesses, media outlets, and government services offline. It's believed that a fire in a data center at Fisher Plaza set off the automatic sprinklers, which in turn soaked the generators.

A partial list of affected businesses in Seattle shows the importance of the Fisher vault, which is located near Seattle Center and the Space Needle. (Grey's Anatomy fans will believe it to be the location of Seattle Grace.) The payment service provider Authorize.net was knocked out; that company has set up a Twitter account to keep clients posted as they work their way back online. Adhost.com is also offline, right down to the phone system.

The Port of Seattle's mail systems are down, as are Swedish Hospital's internal IT systems. Mars Hill Church's data center rests with the angels. Pacific Science Center's site is offline, as is geocaching.com. Local TV and radio station KOMO is operating from remote broadcasting facilities (translation: a truck in the parking lot). And some Verizon functions are hosted there, though it's not clear how widely the service has been affected.

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As of about 10:00 am local time, tech folk were hearing that service might be restored within 2-4 hours. One beleaguered IT pro, who asked not to be identified, noted that he might have to send trucks down to load up his servers if things don't straighten out by then -- and that some of the affected machines haven't been offline "for years," leading to concern that they might not be able to fire back up again.

To follow progress on the problem or to see if a site or business with which you work might be affected, watch the #fisherfire hashtag on Twitter.

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