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Homes, Businesses, School Board And Police Department Affected By Telephone Cable Damage

Verizon repairs 1-15-142

A Verizon crew works on damaged phone lines Jan. 15 at DeMott Lane and Amwell Road.

More than 160 telephone lines owned by Verizon were damaged June 14 by water, causing phone service outages to homes, businesses, the Board of Education and the police department.

Phone service at Hillcrest Elementary School was restored by late in the afternoon of Jan. 15, said district spokeswoman Mary Clark. Also affected was the district’s buildings and grounds department.

Verizon spokesman Lee Gierczynski said that all lines may not be restored until later this week.

The problem is centered at an underground cable at DeMott Lane and Amwell Road, Gierczynski said.

This is what happened, according to Gierczynski: The cables that contain the phone lines – up to 900 lines per cable – are encased in duct work and protected by a stream of compressed air. The compressed air keeps things such as water from affecting the lines.

That compressed air stream was damaged the night of Jan. 14, Gierczynski said, leaving the cable and lines vulnerable to penetration by water.

He said the damage affected about 900 feet of one cable and about 800 feet of a second cable.

Gierczynski said that the fact that 164 lines were affected does not mean that 164 customers were affected.

“The police department has almost 30 lines, and I don’t know how many lines the Board of Education has,” he said.

Phone service was restored to the police department by late afternoon.

He said workers at the DeMott/Amwell site are splicing the lines one by one.

“It could be the end of the week before everything is cleaned up,” he said.

Gierczynski said the company does not know how the compressed air line was damaged.

“We don’t know if it was another contractor in the area who may have damaged it,” he said.

He said the problem “probably was building up” for a while.

“We were able to identify the problem late last night and early this morning,” he said on Jan. 15.

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