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Phone services restored for greater-Charlottesville area emergency lines

Published: Jul. 22, 2021 at 10:36 AM EDT
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ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - 5 p.m. UPDATE: The city of Charlottesville reports that telephone carriers have restored services that were affecting calls in the Charlottesville-Albemarle area. The Emergency Communications Center’s 9-1-1 call volumes have returned to normal and there are no further reports of outages. Public safety stations are returning to normal operations.

Services in Greene and Fluvanna County are also now restored.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE:

Officials throughout central Virginia reported phone outages that affected 911 capabilities for part of the day Thursday, July 22.

Charlottesville, as well as the counties of Albemarle, Buckingham, Fluvanna and Greene were among those affected by the outage.

“When one line goes down, it creates a whole ripple effect,” David Wells with the Fluvanna County Sheriff’s Office said.

According to the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, a cut line in North Carolina impacted 30 different 911 services.

Charlottesville City Hall and the Albemarle County Police Dept. tweeted early Thursday that reports of “widespread, intermittent phone issues” were affecting the area. They both stated, “If you are having trouble dialing 9-1-1, please retry your call and/or use text-to-911. You may also call the ECC’s [Emergency Communications Center] administrative line, at 434-977-9041

The Fluvanna Co. Sheriff’s Office posted to Facebook, “Only 911 lines are operating from home phones correctly. Wireless 911 calls are not functional at this time. We have an alternate line you can call in on until the circuits are back up. That number is 434-373-5540. Text-to-911 also appears to be in service as well. We will update our page when the service is restored.”

“Trying to get those numbers out to the public is really the biggest challenge because everyone is programmed to call 911,” Wells said. “God forbid there was a motor-vehicle crash or a house fire and someone picks up their cellphone to call 911 and they get that fast busy signal, it’s not working. People simply don’t know what to do next and they don’t know where to look.”

The Buckingham County Sheriff’s Office announced that a temporary emergency number - 434-956-0958 - was set up for anyone trying to call 911.

Greene County’s temporary emergency number is 434-566-2216.

Those in Rockbridge County, as well as the cities of Buena Vista and Lexington, can call 540-572-4200. You can also text 911.

NBC29 reached out to Lumen, which provided the following statement shortly after 1 p.m.:

“On July 22, some customers in central Virginia experienced a service disruption due to a fiber cut. All services are now restored. Our techs worked hard to fix the issue as quickly as possible. We appreciate your patience and apologize for the disruption.”

However, Charlottesville said around 1:45 p.m. that the city was still experiencing phone issues. Albemarle Co. sent out a similar message a few minutes later on Twitter.

Internet usage and phone lines for businesses were also affected Thursday.

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