Denise Goldberg's blog

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

no service

My phone is working again after two days without service. I still have an old-fashioned landline, nothing fancy, and this is the first time I can remember being without telephone service. I know, I do have a cell phone. Unfortunately the cell phone coverage in the town where I live isn't great. This outage made me think about switching to FIOS, but as it turns out FIOS in the area was out too. Yikes!

The cause?

And it was all because a homeless man’s mattress caught on fire, burning through scores of copper wires and fiber-optic cables that make up the backbone of Verizon’s telecommunications network for the region.

Quote courtesy of the Eagle-Tribune

It sounds like a comedy of errors. Some homeless people cut through a fence under a bridge, setting mattresses on top of PVC pipes that carried both fiber-optic cables and copper wire. A mattress caught fire, firefighters arrived but were delayed by "High Voltage" warning signs. The fire melted the PVC pipes carrying the cables and wires, destroying or damaging nearly all of the wires. What a mess!

I guess I should consider myself lucky that I only lost my phone service. There were people who lost phones, internet, and television services. I'd like to think an outage like this can be avoided in the future. I wonder...

If you're interested in more of the story, click to the Eagle-Tribune story, How vulnerable are we? A burning mattress brought down telecom giant: Could it happen again?.