Even as its employees sleep on the office floor, breathing diesel fumes from a generator and watching looters from their windows, a Web company in New Orleans vows it won't let the hurricane shut it down.
Employees of Intercosmos Media Group Inc. have been holed up in a 27-story skyscraper since Sunday morning, according to crisis manager Michael Barnett.
They are trying to keep their data center alive and with it some 800,000 Web sites that would otherwise go offline, including online backup site dataprotection.com. Intercosmos also is responsible for 1.2 million Web site names registered through Directnic.com.
The central business district that Intercosmos occupies is dry, but civil order has broken down and getting diesel fuel for the generator has been a major concern.
"We need diesel. We'll find some. We have people depending on us and we are not going to let them down," Barnett wrote in his "interdictor" Web journal. "It is a zoo out there though, make no mistake. Anyone who is on the streets is in immediate danger of being robbed and killed. It's that bad."
Reached by instant messaging, as phone lines were down, Barnett said security had improved somewhat Thursday afternoon with the arrival of troops.
Intercosmos also secured "a decent amount of diesel," but its fiber-optic connections to the Internet were dropping off one by one, Barnett said. To save bandwidth, they had to take down the humor site SomethingAwful.com.
For security reasons, Barnett would not reveal how many people were in the building or how they were armed.
On Wednesday, the company gave shelter to a police officer whose station was underwater. It also helped another company bring one of its most critical computers to Intercosmos' own data center. An unexpected payoff: 25 gallons of water from the other company's office.
Employees haven't been lacking food. The company has routinely supplied its employees with lunch up to twice a week, and chief executive Sigmund Solares was storing food "just to keep ahead," Barnett said via instant messaging.
"Sigmund Solares is the most organized, stockpiling human being on earth, and we all love him for it," Barnett said.
The accommodations, however, leave something to be desired: "I've been sleeping on the carpet, and that's a very thin layer covering the hard concrete. It takes about 3 days to get accustomed to sleeping on concrete," Barnett, a former soldier, wrote on his blog.
Barnett started the blog last week. One of his first entries: "Hmm. This could actually be a nasty storm."
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