By RYAN SCOTT OTTNEY
PDT Staff Writer
Scioto County Sheriff Marty Donini said they were fortunate that no serious calls were missed during the 911 outage that disrupted service in Scioto and Pike counties Wednesday night.
According to Frontier Communications, someone cut through their communications lines in Piketon on Wednesday, leaving more than 8,000 customers without telephone, Internet and 911 service in Scioto and Pike counties.
“Last evening (Wednesday, March 28) we had an attempted theft of our cables on Wakefield Mound Road in Piketon,” said Dave George, Southern Ohio general manager of Frontier Communications. “In this case, someone took an ax and cut a riser pole where our fiber cables went from aerial to buried. They sliced through the shield that we have protecting the fiber and through the fiber optic cable. Once they realized this cable was fiber and not copper, they took off and left the cable cut. Then they went about two miles down Wakefield Mound Road and did the same thing on another riser pole.”
George said Emergency 911 service was disrupted in Scioto and Pike County, and telephone and Internet service was also disrupted for 8,000 customers in Scioto, Pike, Jackson, and Lawrence counties.
Scioto County Sheriff Marty Donini said the 911 system went down entirely about 11 p.m. Wednesday, but their main telephone lines were unaffected. By 9 a.m. the next day, Frontier had re-routed Scioto County 911 calls to ring into the general dispatch telephone line. At that time, however, they were receiving 911 calls from Portsmouth and New Boston also, and they were transferred back to those departments.
“It also had an affect on some of our radios. Not our routine radios, but we have special radios and we lost service on those, too, for a while,” Donini said.
The county 911 call system was back up-and-running entirely by noon Thursday.
“Those people stealing copper, they don’t have a clue what they’re doing when they do stuff like that. In this particular case, they not only jeopardized their life but everybody around,” Donini said.
George said Frontier Communications is aggressively working with local law enforcement to locate those responsible for this act of vandalism. This latest incident is being investigated by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, the State Patrol, and potentially the FBI. George said their cooperation with authorities has, in the past, resulted in convictions and fines.
“Frontier seeks full restitution from those convicted for the full cost of damage caused at each and every case,” he said.
If anyone has seen any suspicious behavior or vehicles in the Piketon area that might be connected with these events, call the Company’s Security Hotline, 800-590-6605. All calls will be handled in a confidential manner. Anonymous information will also be accepted.
If you see an active case of vandalism or theft, call 911 immediately to report the incident, and then call Frontier Security.
Ryan Scott Ottney can be at 740-353-3101, ext. 235, or email@example.com.