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Fire's effects ripple onto the Net

A fire sparked by a train derailment in a tunnel in downtown Baltimore rages for a second day and brings segments of WorldCom's UUNet Internet network to a grinding halt.

A fire sparked by a train derailment in a tunnel in downtown Baltimore raged for a second day Thursday, and its impact rippled onto the Internet.

The fire, which has caused power outages in the area, has also brought segments of WorldCom?s UUNet Internet network to a grinding halt, affecting customers along the Eastern corridor, a WorldCom spokeswoman confirmed.

"WorldCom technical teams had to work through the night and into this morning on our traffic on our networks because of the derailment and fire," said company spokeswoman Jennifer Baker. "The technical teams continue to work, so it is very possible that some of our customers have experienced interruptions since late yesterday afternoon."

An exact number of how many may be affected was unavailable.

The train carrying toxic chemicals derailed shortly after 3:00 p.m. EST. "We have networks that run in that general area," said Baker.

Jerry Seward, the executive director of Web-hosting company CLSS Enterprises, and a WorldCom customer, said his servers in the Philadelphia area had been affected but not those in Baltimore itself. The outage has affected about 300 of his customers. "I would assume they would have the ability to reroute around that (damaged) circuit," said Seward. "This has been down apparently since at least 4:00 p.m. yesterday."

WorldCom was unable to give an estimate as to when service would be restored.

"There are some access issues to the site because of the fire in the tunnel and the hazardous material," said Baker. "We are working with local authorities to get in and assess the situation."

Baker added that the company is working on rerouting traffic.