VA - Severed cable disrupts Stafford 911 service : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Severed cable disrupts Stafford 911 service By PAMELA GOULD and ELIZABETH PEZZULLO The Free Lance-Star

A severed fiber-optic cable interrupted outgoing local phone service in much of Stafford County yesterday, including calls made to 911 and government offices.

The outage triggered widespread confusion because it affected customers differently. Some lost all service, others could receive calls but not dial out locally.

Verizon Communications, which provides local phone service to the area, received word of the problem around 1:40 p.m.

A cruiser is out there, Verizon spokesman Paul Miller said around 3:30 p.m. Once we find out where [the break] is, its usually pretty quick to fix.

Miller could not be reached late last night for an update.

A customer-service representative with Verizon said the company wasnt sure how many customers were impacted by the outage, but that all of the telephone companys employees had been called in to address the problem.

Since 911 was not accessible, authorities tried to get the word out that customers who could place calls should, in the event of an emergency, contact the Fredericksburg 911 office at 373-3122.

Deputies from the Stafford County Sheriffs Office were sent to area schools in case of emergencies, according to David Gayle, assistant to the county administrator.

The interruption in service shut down area automatic teller machines, as well as bank security systems.

If you dont have any phone lines, you dont have any security, said William Hearn, branch manager of the First Virginia Bank at Brafferton Square off Garrisonville Road.

Surveillance cameras ringing the bank, however, were still in use, Hearn said.

Signs were posted outside the ATMs notifying customers of the downed phone lines.

Internet access for customers was also cut, and businesses relying on call-in orders were left with few customers.

Its killed us, said John Roll, manager of the Dominos pizza at Stafford Pointe Shopping Center.

-- Doris (, October 21, 2000

Moderation questions? read the FAQ