Fire at Internet Archive; Web History Safe

A fire damaged the offices of the Internet Archive.

By Chris Roberts
|  Wednesday, Nov 6, 2013  |  Updated 1:06 PM PDT
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Fire at Internet Archive; Web History Safe

NBC Bay Area

The Richmond District Internet Archive outpost -- in a single-story office on Clement Street near 12th Avenue -- caught fire sometime before 3:45 a.m. Wednesday.

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The Internet Archive's San Francisco offices caught fire Wednesday morning, damaging and destroying some office equipment -- but for now, the collections of Web history appear safe, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

The Richmond District Internet Archive outpost -- in a single-story office on Clement Street near 12th Avenue -- caught fire sometime before 3:45 a.m. Wednesday, firefighters told the newspaper.

The fire spread to a three-story apartment next door. Eight people were evacuated and no injuries were reported due to the blaze, which was reported controlled by 5 a.m., the newspaper reported.

The fire department estimated that the blaze caused $500,000 in damage to the building where it started and destroyed $250,000 in contents.

However, Internet Archive founder Brewster Kahle said Wednesday morning that the loss was likely much greater.

"We think we've lost about $750,000 in digitizing equipment," he said.

As for archive.org, the repository of old Web pages? No data was stored at the site, one of 30 offices the archive has nationwide, so the site's 3 million users are safe to surf the past as usual.

A faulty scanner is the supposed cause of the fire, founder Bewster Kahle told the Chronicle.

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