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Rodent Cuts Off Las Vegas 911 New 911 System Temporarily Disabled

Sept. 13, 2000

By James Gordon Meek

LAS VEGAS ( -- A rodent is being blamed for a brief power outage Tuesday night that knocked the city's new, $6 million 911 emergency call center off line, even though it's supposed to have a backup system in case of blackouts.

Metropolitan Police officials were left scrambling for an hour while they waited for the 911 computer system to reboot, said spokesman Tirso Dominguez.

Emergency calls in the entire city of Las Vegas and parts of Clark County were rerouted to other departments while officials worked to get the system up and running again.

Gnawed through cable

At 6:42 p.m., a rat or field mouse apparently got tangled in wiring at the MacDonald substation in southwest Las Vegas, said Nevada Power spokeswoman Sonya Headon.

She said the animal gnawed through a cable and was electrocuted and burned beyond recognition, making an exact identification of its species difficult.

About 800 customers and the 911 call center two blocks away at Russell Road and Cameron Street temporarily lost electricity, Headon said. Power was restored by 7:30 p.m.

No 'rat test'

But that disruption from the substation should not have knocked out the new 911 facility, Dominguez said. The system has backup power supplied by generators and batteries that suffered an unknown "glitch" when they kicked in Tuesday night, and the call center went dark, he said.

"We weren't happy with it," Dominguez said.

The new system's back-up power supplies were thoroughly tested before going on-line in August, and the generators are tested every Wednesday.

"Every test was flawless -- except for the rat test," he said.

Mobile center used

Emergency calls, and also police radio communications were diverted to other agencies during the blackout. Dominguez said the North Las Vegas and Henderson police departments assisted.

Within about 15 minutes of the outage, officials were able to transport 911 call-takers to a mobile emergency trailer with telephones and computers that is warehoused at an undisclosed location away from police headquarters, he said.

There were no incidents involving delayed emergency response as a result of the 911 problem, Dominguez said.

James Gordon Meek is an editor (

-- Mighty Mouse (help@is.ontheway), September 14, 2000


What was that about a subliminal message in the George W. Bush politcal ad? Hehe, we coming to get you humans and you are powerless to stop us!

-- BEN Paulie (, September 14, 2000.

I assume the whereabouts of the Squirrel King have been verified, yes?

-- I'm Here, I'm There (I'm Everywhere@so.beware), September 14, 2000.

The sqirrel king has been spotted.

Van runs through Hampton house, bumps woman off chair

By ERIKA REIF ) 2000, Pilot Online

HAMPTON -- The driver of a van, trying to avoid a squirrel being chased by a dog, hit a parked car before careening through the front of a Hampton residence about 7:45 a.m. Friday. The van knocked a 63-year-old woman off a chair and onto the floor before coming to a halt inside her home, said Hampton police spokesman Lt. Ed Barnes.

The van driver, Thomas Hicks, 60, of Hardy Court in Hampton, first struck a parked car before further losing control of his 1975 Chrysler van and crashing through the front walls of the home, in the 5000 block of 82nd St. Hicks was driving eastbound on 82nd Street when the accident occurred, Barnes said.

Witnesses told police, "The dog was chasing the squirrel, but it was kind of unclear if the dog went into the street or not," Barnes said.

The van was removed from the home shortly after the accident, and city building inspectors condemned the house. Inspectors did not provide police with a damage estimate as of Friday afternoon, Barnes said.

Both Hicks and the woman -- whose name was not released -- were admitted and released from Riverside Regional Medical Center with "very minor" injuries, Barnes said. Hick's injuries were slightly more serious but still minor.

Hicks was charged with reckless driving, Barnes said.

-- Mighty Mouse (help@is.ontheway), September 14, 2000.

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