San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

December 6th, 2010
Fiber cut stops 911, cell service for eight hours

STAFF REPORT

Emergency 911 service and many cell phones in San Marcos and Hays and Caldwell Counties were disrupted for eight hours Saturday due to a fiber cut during a construction project in Buda.

Service went out at about 1:15 p.m. Saturday and was restored shortly after 9 p.m.

A construction crew installing a water line at FM 1625 and Interstate-35 in the Buda area severed the fiber line. Within a short time, emergency management officials rerouted 911 calls to Travis, Guadalupe and surrounding counties to aid San Marcos and Hays County public safety agencies in responding to emergencies.

Residents were advised that they could also seek help at area fire stations. While no residents sought assistance in San Marcos, fire fighters patrolling the city discovered and extinguished a grass fire along I-35 near SH 80.

The fiber cut disrupted service to AT&T cell phones and some ATM and credit card machines. City of San Marcos offices were without service Saturday afternoon. Most land telephone lines were not affected.

Ken Bell, the city’s emergency operations manager, said back-up systems from around the state were positioned to respond if there were to be a long term system disruption.

“Back-up systems, overrides, and inter-agency preparations worked very well in this event,” Bell said. “We are investigating the cause and impact of the cut. Redundant systems are being evaluated and long term solutions are being sought to prevent future disruptions.”

Multiple agencies within the county, region and state responded to the outage, including the Capital Area Council of Governments (CAPCOG) 911 Service Center, the Texas Department of Emergency Management, and others.

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