A suspected cut fiber-optic line has affected phone service across Northeast Michigan, including to many 911 dispatch centers, Alpena County 911 Director Mark Gurisko said.
Verizon Communications employees told Alpena Central Dispatch they believe a fiber-optic line was cut somewhere south of Roscommon, Gurisko said. The exact location was still unknown as of Wednesday afternoon. As a result, no calls were coming in to Alcona, Otsego and Presque Isle counties dispatches. Alpena County had one 911 station working Wednesday, down from three, and was handling calls for its neighbors to the north and south.
"Public safety is not being affected," he said. "If you pick up the phone and dial 911, it's going to ring somewhere, and we can get the info to people to get to your front door and save the day."
Gurisko said he believed Montmorency County's central dispatch to be receiving emergency calls, and handling them for Iosco County.
The News could not reach either county to confirm this.
Presque Isle County E-911 Coordinator Renee Szymanski said phones into the county's dispatch system "seem to be intermittent" as of 2 p.m. Wednesday, and 911 calls were likely routing to neighboring systems. Dispatchers could contact Presque Isle via radio to relay the information.
"Our radios are working and we have full communications with EMS workers" and other emergency personnel, she said in an email. "Unfortunately in the past year, there have been several fiber optic cuts which have impacted our 911 service."
Some Northeast Michigan residents' home and cell phone services were being affected as well, Gurisko said. Some calls are still going through, depending on the origin and number being called.
The National Weather Service in Gaylord posted a notice on its website saying employees were aware of a telecommunications outage affecting Alpena, Iosco and Montmorency counties. Weather radio and other NWS systems that rely on telephone lines could also be affected by the outage.