PARKERSBURG - Some area telephone lines went dead around 6 p.m. Friday in Parkersburg and surrounding counties, and officials did not know the root of the cause Friday night.
Dispatchers with the Wood County 911 Center said emergency officials were able to communicate with local emergency personnel by radio communications. The 911 center said the interruption may not allow some people to gain access to the communications center.
Most emergency calls were going through. However, emergency personnel said tones were sent to all area fire departments and anyone needing to get through to 911 that was unable to could call their local fire department and they could use the radio to communicate the issue to dispatchers.
Parkersburg area residents were also told they could go to their local police or fire stations to report emergencies.
Communication officials with Sprint said the outages were due to upgrading service towers. A customer service representative said the interruption was to allow for better performance of 4G towers in the immediate area.
The upgrades are going on nationwide, according to reports, and do not appear to be widespread. Doddridge and Ritchie County 911 Center was experiencing phone problems.
Officials with Suddenlink Communications said the phone interruption was discovered Friday in some areas of Parkersburg, Ravenswood and Belmont.
Williamstown and Vienna telephone customers using Frontier were experiencing problems too, officials said.
Dan Page, with the Frontier media relations team, said people using phone landlines could make long distance calls but could not call out locally.
Page said local lines affected included numbers beginning with 420, 422, 424, 428, 480, 485 and 893.
Page said the problem is described as an isolated incident and can have a variety of explanations. He said Frontier personnel were working to discover the problem and had several leads Friday night.
"There could be a cut in one area and service is affected in another area, within our network," Page said Friday night.
A fiber cut in Kanawha County could be another explanation. Page said repairs were being done and it could have disrupted service in Wood and surrounding counties.
"We're looking for potential circuit problems and potential effects of a fiber cut in Kanawha County," he said late Friday night.