Reported explosion at Google data center may have caused outage

Inside Facebook data center
(Image credit: Facebook)

One of Google's data centers in Omaha, Iowa has reportedly experienced an electrical explosion, leaving three electricians critically injured and causing outages to some of the company's services.

A tweet by an account that claims to monitor local police radio said one man suffered a "lower torso injury", another "has burns to his face, left arm, and thigh", and one has "burns to the face".

The complex, situated near Lake Manawa State Park, is one of Google's largest data centers. 

Data center incident

The reported explosion occurred at around 11:59am local time, according to sources reported by the Omaha World-Herald.

Jim Wood, the assistant chief for the Council Bluffs Fire Department, did not tell the local publication the exact details of the incident other than that it  "was definitely some sort of electrical issue."

Local fire authorities are reportedly still investigating the incident. 

The electricians were all taken to Nebraska Medical Center, with one being taken by helicopter. 

TechRadar Pro has contacted Google for comment.

How did it affect services?

Downdector recorded an uptick in Google-related outage issues around the time of the attack, which mostly impacted Google Search, but Maps and YouTube also saw minor increases in reports.

However, there is no way of telling whether these are linked to the explosion, and Google hasn't announced any service disruptions related to the incident.

But it doesn't take a freak electrical explosion to bring a data center to its knees.

Recent record UK temperatures, which topped the 40C (104F) mark, led directly to facilities belonging to Google Cloud and Oracle being forced to power down.

The incident led to service disruptions up and down the country for both companies.

  • Want to be covered in case of your own electrical failure? Check out our guide to the best backup software

Will McCurdy has been writing about technology for over five years. He has a wide range of specialities including cybersecurity, fintech, cryptocurrencies, blockchain, cloud computing, payments, artificial intelligence, retail technology, and venture capital investment. He has previously written for AltFi, FStech, Retail Systems, and National Technology News and is an experienced podcast and webinar host, as well as an avid long-form feature writer.