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Wild Fires Hamper Sony, Gateway Operations

10/28/2003 03:24:00 PM Eastern

New York - The wild fires ravaging southern California during the past week forced Sony and Iomega to temporarily close their San Diego offices earlier, while Gateway’s Poway facility was operated with a reduced staff.

All three firms have offices in San Diego County. As of Oct. 30 the country was surrounded by three, major uncontained fires.

A Sony spokesman said the company’s Rancho Bernardo campus was not directly threatened by the fire, but the local authorities encouraged Sony to send its workers home on Oct. 28 because of the smoky conditions in the area. Sony’s offices handle manufacturing and corporate functions. A security guard at the scene said that day that the buildings were full of smoke and the guards were wearing protective masks. The facility operated with a reduced staff on Oct. 27 because many workers could not get to work due to the fires.

The spokesman said on Oct. 30 that the facility reopened the following day and it was business as usual.

Iomega closed its offices on Oct. 27 in response to a request made by local and state government officials, but these were reopened the next day, a company spokesman said.

Gateway’s headquarters, which is located about six miles south of Sony off of Interstate 15, was open for business, but many of its employees were working from home early in the week, a spokeswoman said. She added that the flames came quite close to the facility on Oct. 27, but no damage was done. In response to the tragedy Gateway Chairman and CEO Ted Waitt announced a $100,000 donation from the Waitt Family Foundation to the local American Red Cross to assist victims of the wildfires that have stricken the county in recent days.

In the Los Angeles region the fires have had a smaller impact. Toshiba’s Irvine office was operating normally, representative said.

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