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March 23, 1987

FIRE AT OPEN UNIVERSITY NOT AS DISASTROUS AS IT SOUNDED

By CBR Staff Writer

The sensational radio reports yesterday of a fire destroying a mainframe at the Open University in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire turn out to be more the product of the sort of imagination required to dream up a campaign for a computer disaster recovery company in need of business than a reflection of the truth: damage was limited to an unspecified DEC VAX, valued at UKP500,000, which was housed in a 15-year old temporary wooden building; according to Open U flack Les Holloway, most, if not all, of the 20 to 25 staff from the Technology Faculty using the machine – for a variety of research projects including computer imaging for satellite transmission, acoustic analysis of earth, traffic flow, and wind turbine design – had backed-up their material recently, and, by mid-afternoon, several were back working on the other VAX on site; the DECsystem-20, on which administrative records are held, and the Sperry 1100/80 on site were not affected.

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