Phone, Internet outages reported in portions of Jefferson County

By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — A large dump truck driving with its bed raised severed an overhead CenturyLink phone and Internet line south of Port Townsend this morning, cutting phone and Internet services to all of Port Townsend and some parts of surrounding Jefferson County, said police and a CenturyLink spokeswoman.

The outage happened at about 8:50 a.m., at the intersection of Frederick Street and state Highway 20, Jan Kampbell, CenturyLink spokeswoman, said.

Port Townsend Police Department Officer Luke Bogues said the truck reportedly severed a fiber optic Internet and phone line running across the state highway with its raised dump bed.

Kampbell could not estimate this morning when service might be restored.

At least one CenturyLink crew was on the scene with another en route, bringing a replacement phone and internet cable.

“There’s only so much [the on-scene crew] can do while they wait for the new fiber to get there,” Kampbell said.

Kampbell did not know for sure where the new line was coming from but knew it was somewhere on the North Olympic Peninsula, possibly Port Angeles.

“We have it fairly local, so in case of an emergency we don’t have to experience a long delay,” Kampbell said.

Keppie Keplinger, public information officer for Jefferson County Emergency Management, said if residents in the area still have phone service, they can reach emergency personnel by calling 9-1-1.

Keplinger asked residents to limit non-emergency phone calls to free phone lines.

Bogues said anybody without phone service who needs to report an emergency should try to find a neighbor with phone service or go to the nearest police or fire station.

The cut line has also interrupted Internet service for Port Townsend and some of the surrounding area, Bogues said, so emergency management personnel do not have consistent access to online records.

“So everything is essentially pen and paper,” Bogues said.

An East Jefferson County Fire and Rescue crew saw the dump truck severe the overhead line, Bogues said, and reported it to police.

Port Townsend police have not been able to track down the truck, which did not stop after it severed the line, Bogues said.

“It was described as a dark-color with a shiny new dump bed,” he said.

Bogues said Port Townsend police officers and Jefferson County Sheriff’s deputies both responded to the scene since it was just outside the city limit, but that the sheriff’s office will take the lead in investigating the incident.

“Until we know otherwise, it would be investigated as a hit-and-run collision,” Bogues said.

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of the truck can call the Port Townsend Police Department’s non-emergency number at 360-385-2322 or the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office at 360-385-3831, Bogues said.
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Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at jschwartz@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: December 01. 2012 1:36PM
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