EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Breaking news

August 28, 2012

Noon update: Verizon outage still affecting thousands of customers, dozens of communities and public safety departments

(Continued)

Gallagher said that as of earlier today, police and fire personnel were still working on trying to get them to function.

He said police officers are using their own cell phones to communicate with each other and with supervisors in the police station. He said he called in extra police officers yesterday while detectives put on uniforms and went to area banks and other businesses to discuss the problems they were having with their alarm systems.

Fire Chief Andrew Melnikas noted, "We're vulnerable. Everybody's vulnerable."

He added, "Knock on wood Verizon gets it fixed quickly and we don't have anything serious."

He said the radios on the fire trucks don't work the way they are supposed to, because so-called "repeater-towers" set up throughout town have been disengaged because they are connected by Verizon wires. The only time the radios work is when they are within "line-of-sight," according to Lt. John Weir of the North Andover Fire Department.

While the outage seems to be focused on the Merrimack Valley, many other communities were affected. Melnikas said 41 communities suffered some outages, while 20 experienced problems with their 911 systems.

People from across the region have been communicating with The Eagle-Tribune about the outage. In addition to people in North Andover and Lawrence, people from Merrimac and Haverhill have also reported problems. Groveland may also be suffering from a problem with its 911 system.

"I have no Internet and long-distance calls cannot be made," Marjorie Proulx of Haverhill said in an email to The Eagle-Tribune. "Incoming calls are not an issue. I called Verizon before 9 a.m. was told to try back in 24 hours. I need the connection for work. The representative said she will phone me when it is up."

Ed Starr, business manager for International Brotherhood of Electrical 2321, said there have been five or six crews working around the clock to get service back up. Each crew has four or five workers.

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