An explosion occurred at a Google data center in Iowa, leaving 3 electricians hospitalized with severe injuries.
On August 8, 2022, rescuers arrived at Google's data center in Council Bluffs, Iowa. It was reported that an explosion had occurred while working on electrical equipment in a substation near the data center buildings. Most likely, a so-called arc flash occurred in the electrical enclosure, which caused serious burns to three electricians.
The people injured in the incident were taken to a local hospital for treatment. According to the police, all three are in stable condition and have no life-threatening injuries.
“We are aware of an electrical incident that took place yesterday at Google’s data center in Council Bluffs, Iowa, injuring three people onsite who are being treated and in stable condition,” said Google spokesperson Devon Smiley. “The health and safety of all workers is our absolute top priority, and we are working closely with partners and local authorities to thoroughly investigate the situation and provide assistance as needed.”
Hours after the explosion, thousands of Google users reported problems with Google search, Gmail, Maps, YouTube, and other company services, according to Downdetector, a website that tracks outages of various resources.
A company spokesman, however, said the disruption in Google's search engine was caused by an "error in a software update" that had nothing to do with the Iowa incident.
"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.
We send our compassion to the injured colleagues and wish them a quick recovery.
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 20 000 degrees Celsius.
The data center at Council Bluffs is one of Google's largest centers. It was built in 2007 and currently employs more than 900 people.
This summer, Google has had problems with its data centers. In July, due to record-breaking temperatures that exceeded 40 degrees Celsius, it was necessary to de-energize part of the company's cloud services in London. There was a failure related to cooling, causing partial failure of capacity. Because of this, many of the company's customers' virtual machines stopped working.