Here is another in our continuing series of articles about things going on around Rochester.

Local hobbyists are still reeling after an East Rochester establishment burned down in late May. Despatch Junction, an old train station that went into disuse some time ago, burned on May 27. Located in East Rochester, Despatch Junction had long since shirked its role as a bustling center of transportation and commercial activity, changing instead into a popular hobby shop, renowned among local model train enthusiasts for its selection of goods, helpful staff, and a location that seemed custom built for their favorite hobby. Groups like the Rochester Model Railroad Club relied heavily on Despatch Junction.

Of course, the loss of the former station isn’t just a hit to local hobbyists but also a punch to the gut for Rochester historians. Despatch Junction was built in the late 19th century, becoming East Rochester’s first train station. At the time of its razing, it was the oldest building in the area.

The Digital Age Brings with It Increased Fire Hazards
Fires are of increasing concern for businesses, both those in the Flower City and across the world. Despatch Junction’s misfortunes were caused when the wind from a passing train pulled the flames from a nearby tree onto the station. In this, the Memorial Day disaster was little more than a freak accident.

That being said, the most recently available report from the U.S. Fire Administration, a branch of FEMA, shows that more than 86,000 nonresidential fires occur every year in the U.S. One of the biggest causes is electrical malfunctions, accounting for 12% of the total. That number, experts believe, is set to grow as more and more businesses add large computer server solutions. A quick search in the news will yield myriad stories detailing businesses who have lost everything because of a server malfunction. Operating at incredible temperatures, a mismanaged server can quickly lead to flames.

That’s not to say that the digital age and fires need be inextricably linked. New fire suppression systems using nitrogen and argon, inert gases that don’t have the negative human health risks of the previously used halon, rob potential flames of oxygen, their most vital food source. Coupling this gas system with other safety measures, like power systems that automatically switch off when there is a problem, is the key to running in-house IT safely.

While these countermeasures wouldn’t have saved Despatch Junction from its trial by fire — a trial it unfortunately didn’t pass — they’ll certainly help to stem the tide of businesses who are put to the flame simply because they want to connect with the increasingly digital world around them.