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Cable repaired, 911 service restored

Repairs have been made to a damaged telephone line and residents of Orcas, Shaw and Lopez islands are now able to call 911 in case of an emergency.

At about 3:15 p.m., Bill Henikman of Century Tel confirmed that repair crews had fixed the damage and telephone service on Orcas, Shaw and Lopez islands had been restored and is fully operational.

"We're up and running now," Henikman said.

For about five hours today, residents of Orcas and Shaw, and the north end of Lopez Island, were unable to make 911 calls on so-called "land lines" because of damage to a telephone line on Lopez which also contains fibe-optic cables. Those cables are a conduit by which the Sheriff's office in Friday Harbor receives and relays 911 calls to emergency responders across the county.

Earlier, the disruption prompted public safety officials to send out advisories via various media sources notifying those affected by the outage to contact the fire department or emergency medical services (EMS) agencies on their respective islands in event of an emergency.

Henikman said the telephone line was damaged in an area on Lopez where the county had been putting in culverts. The telephone line runs north from that location and then extends to Shaw and to Orcas.

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