Cut AT&T fiber line causes two 911 outages

Updated: Dec. 8, 2017 at 6:26 PM CST
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CLAY COUNTY, Tx (RNN Texoma) - A cut AT&T fiber line between Wichita Falls and Henrietta impacted five Texoma counties

The 911 operating system and some office phone lines were down for Montague, Jack, Young, and Clay County law enforcement agencies just before 4:00 p.m. Thursday.
It is the second time this happened in less than two weeks. Both incidents were caused by a cut fiber line.

The 911 operating system went out in some Texoma counties including Young, Clay, and Montague. Emergency calls had to be rerouted to nearby counties that were still up and running.

Emergency calls made to Clay County Sheriff's Office were rerouted to Archer County Sheriff's Office.

"If you have a major event happen, like a fire or accident or something like that, that's a big problem," Clay County Sheriff Kenny Lemons said. "That's a big issue. Five or six or seven agencies going to one agency that's a tremendous amount of information going to one place."

Once the Archer County Sheriff's Office transferred the calls back to dispatchers in Clay County, Sheriff Lemons and his deputies had to get creative to respond to those emergency calls since their landlines were still down.

"We were actually improvising using cell phones to communicate between dispatcher to dispatcher to get some of those done until we can get some phone lines back up," Sheriff Lemons said.

The outages happening in such a short time span is unheard of.

"Not that I can remember in the 27 years I've been in this business," Sheriff Lemons said.

Several viewers impacted by the AT&T outages expressed their frustration on Facebook. Nina Richie said, "Definitely not good for emergency situations."

"Again?" asked Julie Wood. "This just happened a couple of weeks ago."

An AT&T spokesperson said they're trying to prevent this issue from happening again.

"The network issue on Thursday evening resulted from a fiber cut caused by another company. during this time 911 calls were rerouted. When other companies do construction work, it is possible they may accidentally damage our equipment. Unfortunately, there have been a series of recent incidents in the area."

They also suggest anyone who plans to dig Texas should call 811.

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