Thursday, September 20, 2007

AT&T Confirms Second VRAD Fire

From: Light Reading

The AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T - message board) 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."
"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. "