ROCKVILLE – A power outage and fire is preventing some local Sprint cell phone users in the area from being able to call 911.
“Due to an extensive commercial power outage and fire, some Sprint wireline customers in the Metro DC Area are unable to access voice and data service. We are working aggressively to restore power and full services, and we apologize for the inconvenience to our customers,” said Sprint spokesperson Adrienne Norton.
“Sprint cellular service is affected throughout the area,” said County officials in an Alert Montgomery message sent out around 1 p.m. Tuesday. “If you receive a busy signal when you call 9-1-1, please use a landline phone or a cell phone covered by another provider.”
In early July, two Montgomery County residents died during a late-night county-wide 911 outage that lasted for about two hours.
“Oh my,” said County Council member Roger Berliner (D-1) when he heard about the outage.
Berliner previously said an outage of the 911 system could never happen again within the County.
While he acknowledged this situation is different from the July Montgomery County 911 system outage because he said is the responsibility of the service provider this time instead of the government, Berliner called for a government investigation into what happened and why it happened.
He also recalled Verizon previously “had a problem with 911.”
“So, clearly, we’re going to need to call these people in so we can have n understanding as to what happened and why and it’s just… what can you say? As one of my colleagues said, this is people’s worst nightmare.”
Berliner serves as the chairman of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.
He said that board may best be equipped to handle an investigation because of the regional impact of the outage.
“We will definitely to investigate and find out what went wrong and what’s the plan going forward to make sure this doesn’t happen again at their end,” he said, later adding, “We’re going to need to get to the bottom of it but we may need to get to the bottom of it with the Council of Governments (because) it might be the most efficient way to get to the bottom of it.”
Danica Roem contributed to this story.
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