Calgary, Alberta - Fire crews are on-scene of a reported 2-alarm fire at the Shaw Building downtown. Power's been cut to the building, meaning Corus Radio's three stations, QR77, Country 105 and Q107 are off-air.
By all reports, everyone has been able to get out of the building safely. Fire crews say it appears a problem with the generator system caused the sprinkler system to go off, leading to the fire alarms and eventually the evacuation order.
It may be a couple of hours before we are allowed back in the building.
Downtown building evacuated following reports of an explosion
By Stephane Massinon and Bryan Weismiller July 11, 2012
A downtown building is being evacuated following reports of an explosion and fire.
The City of Calgary has also initiated its municipal emergency plan, as its 311 hotline and many of its office phones had gone down.
The Calgary Fire Department is responding to Shaw Court, 630 3 Ave S.W., for reports of a blaze.
Spokesman Jayson Doyscher said a second alarm fire response is underway but authorities were not able to confirm if an explosion took place nor the size of the fire.
“They’re still investigating at this time,” said Doyscher.
“They’re evacuating the building.”
Doyscher said the incident appears to be in an electrical room on the 13th floor.
Crews are currently trying to gain entry into that room.
“There’s an obvious electrical hazard,” he said, as the sprinkler system is going off on that floor.
City officials activated the emergency plan at 2:43 p.m. and opened the emergency operations centre after a number of the city’s own phone lines went down.
They were able to put out an alert about the public hotline and the main media contact number, but a spokeswoman was unable to confirm by mid-afternoon that the literal communications breakdown was related to the Shaw building’s incident.
It was merely attributed to “infrastructure damage downtown.”
Three radio stations, Country 105, AM 770 and Q 107, are housed in Shaw Court.
Nearby roads are being closed down to traffic.
SHAW employee Colin Morrison said staff originally figured the outage was caused by another series of rolling blackouts.
“When the fire alarms started to go off there was a bit of concern,” Morrison said. “None of our emergency lighting went back on.”
Calgary EMS say they are not treating any patients.
Latest on Shaw Court fire, AHS systems top priority
Wednesday July 11th, 2012 @ 10:45 PM _QR77 Newsroom
Engineers are working diligently to get essential systems back up-and-running, after a fire at the Shaw Court building in downtown Calgary caused a communications nightmare, Wednesday.
Fire Chief Bruce Burrell is director of Calgary's Emergency Management Agency. He says he's never seen a technological breakdown quite like this before.
"It's quite interesting," Burrell says. "It's amazing the amount of reliance we all place on technology, but it's also quite amazing that when you start talking to people, we're all quite adept at going back."
A generator has been brought in to help determine the extent of the damage.
In the meantime, about 30,000 Shaw customers in Calgary's downtown cannot dial 9-1-1, and the city's 3-1-1 phone service is down.
IBM used space in the building as well, affecting many of their customers including Alberta Health Services, whose systems are top priority.
"We need to get that network up probably as our first priority," Burrell explains. "Right now they're saying it has no impact on patient care, but it will when they start looking at scheduling surgeries for the morning."
There's still no word on what exactly caused the problem that crippled the building. (scb/td/ap)
This is unbelievable. Talk about the Good ol' Days... Where is the emergency power back up system a radio station like QR always had in place? Oh yea, that was before the big boys like cost cutting Corus bought these stations.
Also the fact that local television stations have been telling their audience of the power failure in areas of the city and because there's no signal going into the peoples homes, their not getting the message because they all have Shaw cable and the system is down... This is what removing analogue has done to the industry. Impressed! Not!
I think the fire was in the room where they had the emergency back up, but i am not sure, and anyways, having a generator is great, but they'd still have to evacuate a building because well, there's a fire in there.
Unless you are saying back in the good ol days a radio announcer would have burned to a crisp to keep the needles dancin.
The FMs could have easily had duplicates of the automation systems at the transmitter sites. Or even an iPod!
No kidding! I seem to recall CJOC in Lethbridge broadcasting live from their transmitter site a couple years ago when a huge storm killed all the power downtown. From memory, I think they even had a news guy out there updating people on the storm not even just an automated music backup feed. You'd think QR especially would have some sort of ability to operate in an emergency given they are the big news station. Can't quite figure out why they couldn't at least record some newscasts and play them from transmitter or even setup the equipment they use on remotes to broadcast. If they can pump CHED, CISN and Q107 TO into the transmitters you'd think they could plug in some sort of local backup programming.
It appears to be a form of (recently banned) pink slime growing out of a box. I'm sure others will see it as a form of bodily excretion - perhaps the latter represents the attitude SHAW management has towards their customers?
Having toured art galleries, I'm often astounded that the galleries devoted to "modern" art are virtually empty, while galleries devoted to the old masters are packed to overflowing with people enjoying art that is obviously resonating with human appreciation for beauty.
I suspect the SHAW exhibit is meant to befuddle, demean and cheapen the whole concept of street art. I guess Calgary requires art to be incorporated into buildings? This kind of explains it. :o
Those who are unaware are unaware that they are unaware. :'(
All-too-familiar as we went through this @ Fisher Plaza in Seattle about 3 years ago this month. FIre in the room where power enters a facility that was designed (on paper, at least) go to a week with its own water & power. Almost every test of the emergency systems would take SOME aspect of the operation off the air ...
So according to a few different news stories, most of the Shaw people have been re-located and rumor has it they've been told it'll be a while before they'll be heading back in. Anyone heard how the three Corus stations are dealing with this? Have they left Shaw Court?