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Phone service restored for Emmet County and Beaver Island after day-long outage

Phone service restored for Emmet County and Beaver Island after day-long outage

EMMET COUNTY, Mi (WPBN/WGTU) -- People on Beaver Island and in parts of northern Emmet County are back on the grid after some of them lost phone service for about 24 hours.

People on Beaver Island could make calls on the island, then make radio contact with the mainland. But people in Emmet County who lost service would have to get to the nearest fire hall, and have their emergency called in.

The problem started Thursday afternoon when an AT&T cable was cut by accident on South State Road while work was being done on the side of the road.

The cut caused people to lose their landlines and cell coverage.

“We had a firefighter here all night last night, and starting yesterday afternoon when the emergency started," said Ken Kelsey, a volunteer firefighter with RFC Fire Rescue. "We’ve had this manned since the break happened."

Redmond-Friendship-Cross Village firefighters kept someone at their fire hall in Harbor Springs 24/7.

They even had a bed set up for the night shift.

“It’s a pretty serious thing for people here, because they have no way to get emergency services and if they have to come here and then make a call and then get the responders out, that takes a long time," Kelsey said.

The closest hospital to the fire hall is McLaren Northern Michigan in Petoskey, which is about 45 minutes away.

Kelsey says they usually get about three calls a week.

“For the people that live out here it’s a serious concern, because they need just as much access to emergency services as anybody else and so we’re glad to help," Kelsey said.

Kelsey says they had an emergency call right before the phone service went out, and luckily there weren't any emergencies after that.

At first the Emmet County central dispatch said the line could be down until Sunday afternoon, but it was back up just after 1 p.m. Friday.

AT&T did not know exactly how many people were affected.

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