3 critical hurt after Google facility ‘electrical incident’

Three electricians were critically injured and transported to a local hospital after an “electrical incident” at a Google data center in Council Bluffs, Iowa, according to the Council Bluffs Police Department and Google.

The incident occurred at 11:59 a.m. local time on Monday, the Council Bluffs Police Department told SFGATE. Three electricians were working on a substation close to the data center buildings when an arc flash (an electric explosion) occurred, causing significant burns to all three electricians.

One person was taken by helicopter to Nebraska Medical Center, while two more were transported by ambulance. (Nebraska Medical Center is a short distance from Council Bluffs, which is right on the Iowa-Nebraska border.) All three people were conscious and breathing when they were transported for medical care, according to the Council Bluffs Police Department.

Google spokesperson Devon Smiley sent the following statement to SFGATE:

“We are aware of an electrical incident that took place today at Google’s data center in Council Bluffs, Iowa, injuring three people onsite who are now being treated. 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.”

Google has 14 data centers in the United States, and 23 in total around the world. The data centers “keep all of Google’s products and services up and running around the clock,” according to the company. The Council Bluffs location site is one of Google’s largest. It first opened in 2009.

This is a developing story and will be updated with more information as it becomes available.

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