Michigan:Thousands lose 911 overnight

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Thousands lose 911 overnight in Tuscola Co.

Wednesday, July 19, 2000

By Tom Gilchrist TIMES WRITER

Had a burglar pried at your bedroom window last night in Millington or Fostoria, he'd have had an extra edge.

Calling 911 wouldn't have worked too well.

The 911 service to 5,500 telephones in and near Millington and Fostoria in Tuscola County was lost for about 10 hours Tuesday night.

"Generally, something like this doesn't create a major problem, but it depends on the situation," said Dawn M. Adams, director of Tuscola County's 911 Central Dispatch.

"If you have 911 down and you have a house fire, that's a big deal."

Fortunately, Adams said, police in the Millington and Fostoria areas had to deal only with a complaint about a suspicious vehicle and a complaint about a neighbor's loud music during the hours of lost 911 service.

Melody L. King, general manager of TDS Telecom-Millington - which provides telephone service to residents of Millington and Fostoria - said the 911 outage occurred because of construction work along M-15 just south of Vassar.

"There's a construction project where workers are replacing a bridge (over a creek), and workers were driving a piling and the piling cut the (underground telephone) fiber," King said.

The problem occurred at 6:56 p.m., but workers from Ameritech arrived and had repaired the fiber as of 4:55 a.m. today, King said.

"Generally, an outage (of 911 service) like this doesn't last this long," Adams said.

Anyone who called 911 during the outage would have been connected to their local police department or fire hall, King said.

Tuscola County 911 Central Dispatch workers told firefighters to man their stations in Millington and Watertown Township after dispatchers became aware of the loss of 911 service.

Despite the loss of 911 service for most telephones, Adams said, "As always, as you can do from anywhere, you (could have used) a cell phone to call 911."

The outage affected about 8 percent of Tuscola County's 65,000 telephones. Residents affected by the loss live in Millington, Arbela and Watertown townships.

"Generally, when something like this occurs, it's fixed very quickly, and a lot of times, people don't even realize (they've lost 911 service)," Adams said.

-Tom Gilchrist covers regional news for The Times. He can be reached at 894-9649.


-- Martin Thompson (mthom1927@aol.com), July 19, 2000

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