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Some History on Telco Fires [was: ATT network recovery preparedness... ]
From: Frank Coluccio <fcoluccio () dticonsulting com>
Date: Sat, 22 Sep 2001 05:06:22 GMT


Like yourself, I seem to recall a fire in the early 1970s, but that was rather 
tame and preceded the 'really big one' by several years, which occurred in 
February of 1975. That's the one I think you're referring to, I believe. Mayor 
Beame was in office at the time.

A bit of history follows. Sorry if it's OT, but I think that there's a story in 
here somewhere that is instructive. The story was reported quite accurately in 
the following, from my recollection. I was the AT&T liason to NY Telephone (now 
Verizon) at the time, in charge of restoration of all AT&T/WU/OCC services that 
were transiting the "Second Avenue Central Office" at the time of the fire. The 
C.O. was located at East 13th Street and Second Avenue in Manhattan, despite an 
error in the account below, which has the terms "street" and "avenue" reversed in 
one place.

This fire, incidentally, remains the worst ever to befall a communications 
center, even beyond that which befell the Illinois Bell Hinsdale Central Office 
in 1987. It's been lost to history, however. I should note here that about a 
dozen or so fire fighters eventually died from this incident, after the fact, as 
a result of inhaling massive amounts of toxic fumes which led to varying types of 
respiratory ailments and cancers. 

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