July 15

From fires in homes and businesses to large scale wildfire disasters, the toll that fires take on people’s lives is immense. Technology plays such an important role in our lives through our connections and our storage that the impact of fire-damage to our devices and data can also make matters even tougher. Here are some archive photos from the initial findings after wildfires ripped through the community of Fort McMurray, Alberta in 2016 with some pieces that eventually made their way to our labs for recovery assessment.

YMM fire aftermath: a burnt shell of a desktop PC
Burnt desktop PC case in YMM fire aftermath.

Technology that suffers the wrath of a catastrophic event like a wildfire is not a pretty sight. As with any disaster, once the danger has subsided, crews head in to survey the damage and start the clean up. Whether by specialized extraction teams or individuals returning to the scene, this is when those technological devices that connect us are gathered. Home PCs, business servers, laptops, hard drive archives, disks and media are found and then experts like CBL are called upon to help with recovery.

Highly charred fire-damaged tech extracted from Fort Mac wildfires for assessment. Appears to be hard disk drives.
What appears to be hard disk drives extracted in aftermath of fire in Fort McMurray.

Tech devices are very susceptible to heat. Devices suffer at the hands of heatwaves and severe storms all the time and the intensity of a fire threatens computer components at extreme levels. External surfaces of metal and plastic melt and deform but sometimes layers of technological hardware are spared and the important innards – the key data storage facilities of internal media surfaces, memory chips etc – allow for reconstruction and rebuilding in data recovery efforts.

Sometimes the effects of a disaster are too much for recovery - server rack gear destroyed by YMMFires
Burned rack-mounted server or networking gear.
Circuit board with fire-damage from YMM wildfire
Closer look at a PCB from some tech burned and melted.

Sometimes the effects of a disaster are too much for recovery. However, having the expert lab-look is always worth it to help put people’s lives back together. While fire-damage definitely makes recovery tougher, data is resilient.

You can see a bit more of what we found in that YMM fire aftermath here on this other post.

Category: data recovery

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