Emergency service disabled for hundreds of thousands
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MONROE, N.Y. (AP) - Officials will be investigating why 911
service was cut off for six hours to more than 300,000 residents.
The Sunday morning interruption cut phone service to 96,000
Frontier Communications customers and shut Orange County's 911
system down.
During heavy rains, county Executive Edward Diana asked all
police, fire and emergency medical service agencies to increase
patrols and man vacant firehouses and ambulance garages. County
dispatchers used cell phones and handheld radio to communicate.
"This is totally unacceptable," said Diana, who was at the
county's emergency communications center.
"To lose 911 service for any amount of time is unacceptable."
While the service was out, police officers throughout the county
found the silence strange, the Times Herald-Record of Middletown
reported.
"Usually, it's nonstop in here," said Robin Horowitz, a
dispatcher at the state police Troop F barracks in Monroe. "Today,
we're pretty much doing nothing."
The phone disruption resulted from the failure of a crucial fuse
at Frontier's office in Monroe, about 45 miles north of New York
City, according to officials.
"We're going to be looking at why all this happened," Frontier
spokeswoman Karen Miller said. "We're going to be working with O&R
(Orange and Rockland Utilities), working with the county to see if
we can prevent this from happening in the future."
The county pays $1 million annually for the 911 service.
"Frontier said they could provide this service to Orange
County," Diana said. "If they cannot do that, than I will find
another provider. We can't let this happen again."

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)