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Brush fire caused hours of outages

July 10, 2009|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

CHAMBERSBURG, PA. -- Phone and Internet service were out in parts of Franklin County, Pa., on Friday because of a brush fire between Chambersburg and Shippensburg the night before.

The Franklin County Department of Emergency Services sent a notice of the outage Friday shortly after 9 a.m. and asked people to make sure they could dial for help if they needed it.

At 3:45 p.m., the department reported most affected areas had their phone and Internet connections restored.

Thursday's fire was reported about 10:30 p.m. in the Green Village area, according to a 911 dispatcher.

Bryan Stevenson, the county's communications coordinator, said some bushes caught fire. The fire was high enough to damage low-hanging utility wires, causing outages, he said.

Electrical lines, which were higher off the ground, were not affected.

Allegheny Power did not have any electricity outages in the county on Friday, spokesman Todd Meyers said.

Fred DeAndrea, a spokesman for Comcast, said the fire damaged the company's cable lines. Comcast sent technicians to the scene Thursday night, but they weren't able to work on the lines because of the fire.

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DeAndrea said affected customers had their service back Friday afternoon.

Stephanie Meisse, a spokeswoman for Embarq, which offers phone and Internet service, said fiber-optic cable and copper wires were burned.

All of Embarq's services were restored Friday by 1 p.m., Meisse said.

Meisse wasn't sure how many people were affected, but said outages appeared to be sporadic throughout the county and also might have affected customers in Cumberland County, Pa., and in Washington County.

Some customers reported phone problems, but had Internet service, and vice versa, Meisse said.

The Department of Emergency Services said in the 3:45 p.m. press release some cable or phone service still might be out.

Staff writer Heather Keels contributed to this story.

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