911 call system partially disrupted in Schuylkill County

Sep. 7—POTTSVILLE — Verizon customers, and possibly other cellular network users, could not use their cellphones to call 911 on Thursday in Schuylkill County. Landlines, however, could be used.

Scott Krater, director of the Schuylkill County Communications Center, said personnel were testing whether other networks, including AT&T and T-Mobile, were working.

The outage was broadcast over emergency communications about 4:30 p.m. as heavy thunderstorms moved through the county.

Police and fire personnel were getting dispatches through the 911 center.

While landline phones worked to call 911, calling the center's non-emergency numbers through landlines also did not work, Krater said.

Krater said county officials have been working on the problem and learned from Verizon the problem appeared to be a break in a fiber optic cable somewhere between Philadelphia and Bloomsburg.

During the outage, Krater said Schuylkill County emergency calls were being re-routed through the Berks County Communications Center.

Krater said Schuylkill County was not the only county affected by the outage.

"Everything from Schuylkill County north of us is affected, including Northumberland, Monroe, Columbia and more," Krater said.

He said that volunteer firefighters were asked to stand by at their stations in the event someone needs emergency assistance and could not reach help via cellphone.

Krater said around 7:30 p.m. Thursday there is no estimate of when the telephone system will be restored.

Contact the writer: fandruscavage@republicanherald.com; 570-628-6013