GATE CITY — Scott County residents were without 911 service for slightly more than two hours Thursday night after a broken fiber optic line caused a phone and Internet service outage for CenturyLink customers in Gate City and Weber City.
Scott County E-911 Director Janice Jennings said the outage began at 10 p.m. and affected all emergency and administrative phone lines coming into the Scott County Central Dispatch office in Gate City.
Jennings said 911 calls were routed to Washington County E-911 shortly after 12 a.m. Friday — a little more than two hours after the ordeal began.
Scott County E-911 averages between 10 to 20 emergency calls in a given hour, Jennings said.
In addition to emergency dispatch, the lack of service also affected the Scott County Sheriff’s Office, the Gate City police and volunteer fire departments and the Weber City police and volunteer fire departments.
A spokeswoman with CenturyLink said crews were troubleshooting a problem line when the fiber shattered and brought down the service at about 10 p.m.
The line was reportedly located along U.S. Route 23 near the Virginia-Tennessee state line.
The spokeswoman could not specify exactly how many customers were impacted, but she did say service was fully restored and running by 1 a.m.
Jennings said her office was not notified by CenturyLink of the outage.
Emergency officials were first made aware of the problem around 10:20 p.m., Jennings said, when a Duffield Rescue Squad member radioed central dispatch and told them the Southwest Virginia Regional Jail in Duffield was unable to get through to 911 for an ambulance request.
“When you called 911 you would get a recording that the line was no longer in service or disconnected,” Jennings said.
At that point, Jennings said she came to the office and contacted a CenturyLink representative to begin the process of having all of Scott County’s 911 calls routed through Washington County, Va., emergency dispatch.
Those emergency calls were routed back to Scott County 911 sometime early Friday morning.
Members of every volunteer fire department and law enforcement agency in the county were also dispatched to their various stations during the outage to deal with any potential emergency situations that could have arisen, Jennings said.