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Fire alarm at Red Bee’s Broadcast Centre takes channels off air

According to reports, a "sonic wave" shut down Red Bee's server room

A fire alarm incident at Red Bee’s Broadcast Centre in West London took a number of TV channels off air during primetime on Saturday night.

Viewers watching Channel 4 said they saw a still screen for about 25 minutes, while Channel 5 was also off air for about 30 minutes.

Other affected channels included More4, S4C, Paramount and 4Music.

Red Bee, which handles playout for all of the channels, said the issue was the result of an evacuation of staff at Broadcast Centre due to an “activation of the fire suppression system”.

In a statement released on Twitter, the company added: “As a result of this incident and the automatic safety measures set in motion at the time, several services originating from the Broadcast Centre have been disrupted.

“London Fire Brigade attended the scene, and once they had determined that the building is safe, people were allowed to return to the building. We are continuing to work to restore all services and remedy any issues caused by this incident,” continued the statement.

“To avoid speculation, we will not make any further statements until all services have been fully restored and we have concluded a full investigation of the cause. We apologise for any inconvenience for our customers and their viewers,” added Red Bee.

According to The Times, the fire suppression system sucked all the oxygen out of the room causing a “sonic wave” that shut down Red Bee’s servers.

In an updated statement released on Sunday, Red Bee said it is continuing to “work towards full service recovery and are investigating what triggered the fire suppression systems in the Broadcast Centre on Saturday evening”.

“We will wait to make any statements around what caused the disruption until we have concluded our investigations, and have a full picture of what happened,” the company added.