Suspected lightning strike blamed for Lewis County phone outage

Lewis County
Lewis County
Updated: Sep. 4, 2019 at 5:37 PM EDT
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LOWVILLE, N.Y. (WWNY) - Phone service was out for much of the day Wednesday in parts of Lewis County.

Frontier Communications said a suspected lightning strike to a microwave tower at its Lowville office disrupted telephone voice service to customers in Lowville and nearby communities including Brantingham, Chase Lake, Croghan, Lyons Falls, Stillwater, New Bremen, Petries Corners and Sears Pond.

Customers in the Boonville, Old Forge and Remsen areas currently cannot access Long Distance dialing or voicemail. Frontier Internet services are operating normally.

“Frontier technicians and crews responded immediately to troubleshoot and are continuing to work to make any needed repairs and restore services as quickly as possible. Frontier’s facilities are ground-fault protected but the effects of lighting are unpredictable and beyond control,” said Julie Murtagh, Frontier’s East Region Senior Vice President of Operations.

“We will provide updates on the status of restorations and thank our customers and the communities we serve for their patience.”

Lewis County Manager Ryan Piche said phone service was out Wednesday for county government offices, the county and state courts, and Lewis County General Hospital.

“We are here to serve the public every day, and when the public can’t reach us, that’s certainly not a good thing,” said Piche.

911 service was not affected by the outage.

Lewis County General Hospital had a work-around Wednesday for people trying to contact the hospital.

“To reach Lewis County General Hospital and Health System from 7:00am-5:00pm, the community can call the Hospital’s South Lewis Health Center at 315-348-8407. The facility phones are working internally, so calls can be transferred back to the Hospital switchboard operator who will then direct calls accordingly," said Christina Flint, a hospital official.

"To contact the hospital from 5:00pm to 7:00am call 315-836-5711.”

Service could be restored Thursday.

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