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Half of PTP distribution box gutted by fire!

Morges, VD: PTP distribution box fire. Electrical panels, cable routing rails, power supply and DSLAM destroyed by fire. Large-scale operation for cablex. The committed and passionate work of teams from various business units quickly remedied the damage.

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Author Martina Strazzer

During the night of 18 to the 19 October 2022, there was a fire in a PTP distribution box in Morges, VD. The fire brigade was quickly on the scene to extinguish the fire, and the police secured the area. The cablex team responded immediately on 19 October 2022 after receiving notification of the disruption, which was reported to Swisscom. With permission from the police, the team assessed the damage and performed voltage tests. Some 230 customers from two telecom providers were affected.

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Extent of the damage.

Since half of the PTP distribution box had been burned, electronic equipment and internal electronics had also been destroyed. To enable a comprehensive assessment of the damage, a thorough clean of all equipment was first carried out. All components destroyed by the fire were removed so that the distribution box and other functional parts could be replaced. It soon became apparent that the electrical panel and battery were no longer functional. In addition, all DSLAM cables (Digital Subscriber Line Access Multiplexer) and splitter strips had been melted or damaged by the water used to put out the fire.

Fortunately, only a small amount of cable ducting had melted in the ground. Aside from the need to repair some cable heads and surge arresters, the inspection of the optical fibre cables did not reveal any more substantial damage.  Only a small number of fibres were affected. These did not need to be swapped out, however, but could be simply reconnected using existing reserve cables.

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A quick solution in sight.

It became apparent that the primary focus of this operation would not be repairing the optical fibres and copper cabling, but rather replacing all the electronics. Our cablex Field Services operational team therefore called in outside support from Romande Energie. The coordination team, led by Swisscom's escalation manager, asked cablex to take the lead in the task of replacing the entire interior of the distribution box including power supply, distributor and electronics. We immediately accepted the challenge. Specialists were called in at short notice from various cablex business units to work together to  remedy this complex issue. 

Owing to long delivery times, quickly replacing an entire PTP distribution box can be a difficult task. In spite of this, the commitment of all colleagues involved quickly ensured that a recently dismantled PTP distribution box from the Crissier region immediately became available. In cooperation with the team from Romande Energie, who monitored the power interruption, all preliminary work for the re-installation in Morges was carried out. 

On 21 October 2022, the new, empty PTP distribution box was put in place. The teams from cablex installed all hardware components and the new current controller, connected the electronics inside the distribution box and brought it back into operation together with Swisscom. All optical fibre cables were were reconnected, and all internet and telephone connections were switched on. 

All 230 customers were online once again on Friday evening at 11:00 p.m. and other construction measures will be completed as soon as the police investigation is concluded.

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Thank you to our colleagues for their committed and passionate work. The quick response and professional resolution of this problem was only possible thanks to internal communication across departments. 

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