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Eastern Arizona police chief, Congressman call for state and federal agencies to investigate Frontier Communications

Posted at 10:25 PM, Jun 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-17 01:25:08-04

ST JOHNS, AZ — Multiple officials call for state and federal agencies to investigate an outage that left some Arizona communities without the ability to call 911 for days. It all started when a fiber cable was damaged.

Investigators believe it was done intentionally.

The worry and fear for thousands in eastern Arizona is over, but the anger is setting in. ABC15 first told you about this outage Tuesday. St. Johns Police Chief wrote a three-page letter to the Arizona Corporation Commission asking the commission to investigate what he says put his community in danger.

A telecommunications outage in eastern Arizona is crippling the community of St. Johns and other nearby areas.

"Not just in our city. It affected the Apache County Sheriff's Office, other agencies in Apache County and Navajo County,” said St. Johns Police Chief Lance Spivey.

Chief Spivey believes the outage affected more than 100,000 people. One person died, he says, because of it. Several others, he adds, needed ambulances, and couldn't call for help.

"It was crazy times. It was like we went from modern day back to the 1800s when there are no phones,” added Chief Spivey.

The problems started Saturday, the chief says, when someone shot a crucial fiber line in three places in Navajo County.

Cell phones and internet service were disrupted because of the damaged line owned by Frontier Communications.

His community, the chief says, was stuck relaying emergency information by only word of mouth.

"It's an eerie feeling. We lose sleep over it. I mean, I woke up in the middle thinking of what was going through my mind, what is going on and what I am going to say when asked about it,” added Chief Spivey.

Frontier says the company worked to restore service as quickly as possible. Service was finally restored Monday afternoon.

Representative Tom O'Halleran, who represents the area, is also getting involved. He is asking the FCC to investigate.