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I am a grouchy, bald headed old fart filled with opinions and not the least bit shy about sharing them.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Every TV station's worse nightmare

A major fire struck WABC just before the 11:00 p.m. news Monday night. Friends say the fire spread with frightening speed after a loud "pop" was heard behind the New York City skyline back drop. The fire began almost instantly with flames towering for or five feet. Within seconds it climbed the wall and got into the lighting grid and ceiling. Fire sprinklers contained the fire to the studio.

The fire produced heavy smoke resulting in an evacuation of the entire building, master control included. WABC went to black and alternated between black and color bars until sometime before 1:00 a.m. when engineers were able to patch ABC's West Coast feed from the network headquarters next door.

The news is heavily damaged. This was in the new set just recently completed to accommodate the finer resolution of high definition television. The morning news aired from the flash camera in the news room while round the clock repairs began in the studios below. The Regis and Kelly set next door suffered water and smoke damage forcing that show next door to ABC's TV-3 studio. This is the set that used to be home to Good Morning America and is currently home to Who Wants To Be Millionaire.

The cause of the fire is reported to be a faulty electrical connector that fed the overhead lighting grid.

Written from various news reports and personal accounts...

Here are some interesting you tube links covering the event:
WABC coverage part 1
WABC coverage part 2
Raw footage shot outside of firefighting operations
WNBC's mention that WABC is off the air

- 30 -

"We will go on the air even if we have to broadcast from the sidewalk."
- Kenny Plotnik, WABC News Director.

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