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Damaged cable leaves Orcas, Lopez and Shaw without 911 coverage or off-island calling

Crews from Century Tel are attempting to repair damage to an underwater cable that beginning earlier today left residents of Orcas, Shaw and parts of Lopez Island without phone service and a connection to emergency 911 calls, according to the San Juan County Sheriff's department.

The extent of the damage, which, beginning at about 10 a.m., left many parts of the county without phone service, remains unknown. It reportedly disrupted transmission of fiber-optic data via an underwater phone-line cable which connects those parts of the islands to the mainland.

In case of emergency, those without phone service are asked to contact their local fire station or emergency medical services (EMS) so emergency calls can be routed to the Sheriff's office in Friday Harbor and emergency personnel can be contacted. San Juan Island is unaffected by the temporary outage.

Repair of the damage was expected to be complete and phone service restored today by about 3:30 p.m.

Recent reports indicate that phone service appears to be functional in many areas of the islands affected by the outage, according to the county Department of Emergency Management. Initial reports indicated that cell-phone service had been disrupted as well.

Below are phone numbers of local fire stations:

Orcas: 376-2331

Lopez: 468-2991

Shaw: 468-3375

San Juan: 378-5334

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