General Crime

*Santa Clara County Declares State Of Emergency Because Of Phone Outage caused By cut Fiber Optic Cables

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The county of Santa Clara this afternoon declared a state of local emergency as widespread phone outages continue to affect the south county area.More than 52,000 Verizon customers in the area still have no phone service after four fiber optic cables were severed around 2 a.m. this morning. The affected areas include Gilroy, Morgan Hill and South San Jose.While some households are able to make local calls, the 911 system is not operational in these areas The official declaration will allow Santa Clara County to potentially recoup some of the costs of maintaining public safety while the 911 system is down, county spokeswoman Joy Alexiou said. Police and fire responders can still communicate via radio. The county has dispatched extra firefighters and sheriff’s officers to patrol affected areas. Saint Louise Hospital has canceled all elective surgeries today to keep capacity open in case of an emergency, according to updates from Santa Clara County.ATMs in these areas are also not functioning, according to the county.AT&T crews have been working all day to repair the fiber optic cables at Monterey Highway and Blossom Hill Road in San Jose. AT&T is dispatching updates on Twitter at  Please call the Fugitive Watch hot line at 1-800-9-CAUGHT (1-800-922-8448) or text at 408-355-0999 if you have any information.

Copyright © 2009 by Bay City News, Inc. — Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse
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As AT&T crews work through this evening to repair severed fiber optic cables that have affected more than 50,000 phone lines in the Santa Clara County area, officials said the lack of 911 services has not hampered any emergency responses.Workers restored 911 services for all residents with phone service by 5 p.m., county Office of Emergency Services spokeswoman Kirsten Hofmann announced at an evening news conference at county sheriff’s headquarters. Hofmann, who received the first call at 2 a.m. about the phone outages, said teams are going door-to-door to check on homebound senior citizens and search and rescue teams are posted in unincorporated areas in case residents need help.The outages have been affecting more than 52,000 Internet browsers, landlines and cell phones in South San Jose, Gilroy, Morgan Hill and other areas, according to the county. Because residents could not call 911, emergency responders from across the area mobilized to make sure people could get help in case of an emergency.Hofmann said police and ambulance radios were not affected.AT&T spokesman John Britton said repair crews expect to complete the process of repairing the hundreds of tiny strands inside the fiber optic cables some time tonight, although he could not give a more specific estimate.While Britton declined to speculate who might be behind the cut cables, which police are treating as an act of vandalism, he did note that whoever sawed through the plastic-sheathed cables seemed to be knowledgeable about accessing fiber optic lines.”Somebody had the proper tool to remove the manhole cover,” he said.Between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m., fiber optic lines were cut at a total of four sites in San Jose and San Carlos. The original repair site was at Monterey Highway at Blossom Hill Road, then a second site located nearby at Hays Avenue and Cottle Road. Two San Carlos sites, near Old County Road and Bing Street, have not affected phone services, according to police Cmdr. Richard Cinfio.San Jose fire chief Ken Waldvogel said he was not aware of anyone who needed to flag down a police officer or visit a fire department due to an emergency. Emergency responders checked with area senior homes and hospitals, he said, to make sure landlines were working.With ATMs still out of service, cash may be difficult to come by in the southern portion of Santa Clara County. “If you are going to need money tonight, find an ATM before you reach South San Jose,” Hofmann said. San Jose Police Chief Rob Davis also declined to speculate, but said the perpetrator’s apparent familiarity with fiber optic cables is just one of several leads being investigated.Davis also said he is confident in the information and evidence his team has collected so far. “I pity the individual who has done this,” he said of the strength of investigators’ leads.Both police departments are working with the Federal Bureau of Investigations. In addition to criminal vandalism, cutting the cables could result in state or federal criminal charges.Legally, additional criminal charges are possible, Davis said, “If we find out there are victims who did not receive 911 services as a result of these actions. Santa Clara County President Liz Kniss thanked the array of city and county offices that worked together to maintain safety and order, she said, in the face of a very unusual emergency situation.”Currently we are ready for earthquakes, we are ready for fires and most everything else,” she said. “We weren’t ready for cables being clipped in South San Jose.”Please call the Fugitive Watch hot line at 1-800-9-CAUGHT (1-800-922-8448) or text at 408-355-0999 if you have any information.

Copyright © 2009 by Bay City News, Inc. — Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse
without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.

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