Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes
Samantha Hayes reporting Can you imagine calling 911, and not being able to get through? It could be a matter of life and death.
For much of Wednesday, a severed fiber optics cable cut phone service, including 911 calls, for people in Utah's Wasatch and Summit counties.
BILL GELLER/PARK CITY: "WE HAVE 3 CELLPHONES, 2 LAND LINES, AND WE GET ABSOLUTELY NOTHING BUT BEEPS ON THE PHONE"
Qwest phone company says tonight that service has been restored.
Fiber Optics are small, but Qwest says when a developer didn't call the company to locate underground cables before digging, a cut line left two counties without service for most of the day.
If you called Heber or Park City this afternoon, this is probably what you heard:
......tone.....all circuits are busy now, please call again later."
BILL GELLER/PARK CITY: "IT IS DRIVING US NUTS, SO WE DROVE DOWN HERE, USE THE PHONE AT THE GAS STATION ACROSS THE STREET."
SAMANTHA HAYES/EYEWITNESS NEWS: "THIS IS THE DEVELOPMENT SITE RIGHT OFF OF THE JEREMY RANCH EXIT WHERE QWEST SAYS DURING THE LANDSCAPING PROCESS THIS AFTERNOON THEIR FIBER OPTIC CABLE WAS CUT."
Inside this cable are 144 fibers, each smaller than a hair on your head. And every single one must be fused back together seperatly.
BILL GELLER/PARK CITY: "IT CONCERNS ME IF SOMETHING WERE TO HAPPEN HERE HOW WOULD i NOTIFY SOMEBODY OR HOW WOULD THEY NOTIFY ME."
People who could not access 911 were instructed to call their sheriff's department.
DAVE BOOTH/SUMMIT COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT: "IF THE 911 LINE GOES DOWN WE CAN PUT CALLS ON OUR NONPRIORITY LINE. RIGHT NOW OUR NON-PRIORITY LINES ARE UP AND FUNCTIONING SO RIGHT NOW ITS JUST A MATTER OF TRANSFERING OUT 911 LINES DOWN THAT LINE."
A process that law enforcement says worked this afternoon.
DAVE BOOTH/SUMMIT COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT: WE HAVEN'T HAD ANY EMERGENCIES WE HAVEN'T BEEN ABLE TO DEAL WITH. "
The Summit county Sheriff's department says if the non priority line goes down, it has a back up cellphone system-if that doesn't work they can fire up satellite phones.
These back-up systems were installed primarily for the Olympic Games. They are getting to use them now.