Phone outage affects 911 calls

Officials asked Webster County residents with an emergency Thursday afternoon to call 911 using their cell phones because a cable to the Webster County Law Enforcement Center was cut.

Sheriff Jim Stubbs said one of the main phone cables, located in southern Minnesota, was cut sometime Thursday afternoon. While he couldn’t say why the cable was cut, he did say Webster County wasn’t the only place in Iowa affected by the outage.

“It affects us, LeMars and even Denison,” Stubbs said.

He said landlines probably would not work, but calls on cell phones would come through to the LEC.

“This outage is also affecting email and other systems,” Stubbs said.

That included the Wireless Emergency Notification System, which is broadcast via the communications center in the LEC.

Stubbs said Thursday evening that he wasn’t sure when the phone cable would be repaired.

“We don’t have a time frame for it,” he said. “They also can’t reroute our calls because apparently the coverage area is a wide area.”

He asked everybody to be patient while the system is worked on.

“If people will just work with us on that, we’ll do our best to fix it,” he said.