Thursday, June 28, 2007

Backhoe Blamed For Phone Outage

By Sondra Murphy
Internet, telephones, landline 911 calls come to a halt

When telephone lines go down, it can be bothersome to most people. It often means no Internet and businesses have to take credit card payments the old fashioned way. But for emergency services personnel, phones are their primary link to people in need.
Ojai Valley residents experienced sporadic phone service from the Upper Ojai area on down to Seaward Avenue in Ventura Thursday for more than six hours. With many people using cell phones during the land line disruption, connection was intermittent and dropped calls were common.
For hours, no one, not even the phone company, knew the source of the major glitch. As late as 3 p.m., AT&T media relations were unsure of the cause. AT&T service technician Loren Bright was on location on Santa Clara Street in Ventura where backhoe work had disrupted phone lines.
“We’re mostly concerned about emergency services and getting them back,” said Bright.
Ojai Police Administrative Sgt. Maureen Hookstra was informed by people at the Ventura County Emergency Operations Center of the outage. Her personal cell phone was the main line in for business calls. “We have sheriff dispatch and fire dispatch routed into the office,” said Hookstra. “We can receive calls from the city, take the information and dispatch personnel.”
Extra precautions were taken to keep in contact with local agencies. “The Fire Department has gone out to make contact with extended care facilities in Ojai,” Hookstra said. Ojai Valley Community Hospital was informed of the situation.
Double fire crews were called in to ensure emergency needs were available. Capt. John Tucker and his crew from El Rio were manning Ojai Fire Station 21. “We were moved up here to cover,” said Tucker. “I’m carrying my cell phone with me to receive information as it’s known.” He said extra fire engines were brought into all stations in the Ojai Valley, just in case.
Both county agencies agreed cell phones helped agencies maintain contact with the community. “And everyone’s behaving themselves,” Hookstra added.


Anonymous said...

who was operating the backhoe?

Anonymous said...

I think 'when' not 'where' was the word you meant to put down when talking of the technician on Santa Clara St.. That lead me to believe that the damage was on S.C. St. when according to the VCS, the damage occurred on 150 near Happy Valley School during brush removal.

Lenny Roberts said...

According to AT&T spokeswoman Deborah Lieberman Friday morning, our report was correct: The break in the fiber-optic cable was at Santa Clara and Junipero streets in Ventura, not in Upper Ojai as reported by other media outlets. Information naming who was responsible for the incident was not provided.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Lenny for the confirmation. I wonder then if there was cable damage at all on the 150. Santa Clara is also the location of the apt. complex that sank from a leaking pipe.

James Hatch said...

Mistakes were made. Let's not forget that. Our tax dollars pay for an efficient, well-tuned city government. Or so we would think. Our tax dollars pay for something.

My name is James Hatch. I am a local here. I grew up here. People knew me when I grew up here. That counts for something. It should count for something.

People will wonder what opinions I have when it comes to local events. I share a cohesive vision, a utilitarian vision, for Ojai. My name is James Hatch.