UPDATED 11:30 a.m. DEC. 5:
A construction crew installing a water line at FM 1625 and I-35 in the Buda area severed the fiber line about 1:15 p.m. 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 Highway 80.
The fiber cut also 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.
Mobile back-up systems from around the state were positioned to respond if there was going to be a long term system disruption, said Ken Bell, San Marcos Emergency Operations Manager.
“Back-up systems, overrides, and inter-agency preparations worked very well in this event,” he 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 event, including the Capital Area Council of Governments (CAPCOG) 911 Service Center, the Texas Department of Emergency Management, and others.
Emergency 911 service in San Marcos and Hays County was disrupted around 1:30 p.m. Saturday by what appears to cut in a fiber optic line. There is no estimate when service may be restored.
Other administrative lines at San Marcos Police, Fire and City offices have been affected with sporadic service. Cellular service through some of the major cell phone carriers such as AT&T and for some Sprint customers has also been disrupted, said Emergency Operations Manager Ken Bell.
All 911 calls are still being answered, but there may be a delay in response, Bell said.
Emergency calls to San Marcos police, fire and EMS, Hays County Sheriff’s Department, rural fire departments and Texas State University are being diverted to Travis County 911 dispatchers, while 911 cell phone calls are being routed to Guadalupe and other surrounding counties.
The calls are being transmitted through backup systems to dispatchers in the 911 centers in San Marcos and Hays County.
The San Marcos Police non-emergency number at 753-2108 is working sporadically.
Residents with an emergency may go to any Fire Station in San Marcos for help. San Marcos locations:
Station 1: Downtown: 114 E. Hutchison
Station 2: 1314 Academy at Holland Street
Station 3: 2420 Hunter Road
Station 4: 401 Broadway
Station 5: 100 Carlson Circle
Central Texas Medical Center is located at 1301 Wonder World Drive.