Fires Hampered CE Firms Based Near San Diego - Twice

Fires Hampered CE Firms Based Near San Diego

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The wild fires that ravaged Southern California hampered the operation of several San Diego area CE and computer companies, forcing some to shut down and all to operate short handed as the fires forced workers to stay home.

However, all managed to escape without any physical damage to their facilities.

Sony and Iomega had to temporarily close their offices earlier, while Gateway's Poway facility was closed for a day and operated with a reduced staff on several days during the last week in October. Intuit had to close down for a day when flames crept close to its headquarters, but the fire was stopped by a nearby freeway that acted as a firebreak, a company spokesman said.

All four firms have offices in San Diego County. Durng the week of Oct. 27 the county was surrounded by three major fires. All were under control or out as of last week.

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, 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/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.

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