Sprinklers blamed for Level 3 'leak'

Data centre flooded

The "leak" at Level 3's Braham Street data centre in London was caused by sprinklers being accidentally set off, El Reg can confirm.

Last week, Level 3 was forced to write to punters explaining that some customer kit might have been damaged following a leak. Insiders said the leak was due to sprinklers, but Level 3 declined to comment on the incident.

However, an Interim Outage Report seen by El Reg confirms earlier suspicions but also suggests that rather than "a leak", Level 3 suffered a flood and that due to the proximity of "high voltage equipment" non-essential staff were evacuated from the building.

Its report into the matter reads: "At approximately 1215hrs on Thursday 9 March, during routine maintenance of the building's fire detection system, the pre-action sprinkler system for the building operated and charged the system with water causing the building fire detection system to activate. Due to the increase in pressure within the sprinkler pipe work, a plug on the sprinkler system failed on the 2nd floor, which allowed water to flood into this area. The sprinkler pumps, located in the basement, were switched off to prevent any more water being pumped onto the floor.

"However, given the amount of water that had already been discharged, Level 3 personnel were unable to prevent this penetrating the floor slab of the 2nd floor through to the basement. Given that some of this water penetrated to the Plant Room, containing high voltage equipment serving the building, a decision was taken to evacuate nonessential personnel."

The incident happen at just after noon last Thursday and the mopping up was finally completed by 9.00pm. ®

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