Vandalism and cold weather knock out phone service at emergency centers in West Virginia

Charleston, W.Va. (AP) - Emergency call centers in many areas were without phone service for several hours. West Virginia County on Tuesday, officials said.

Residents in some counties were advised to use alternate business numbers to call 911 during the outage.

Frontier Communications spokeswoman Chrissy Murray said its fiber optic lines experienced two outages in northern West Virginia, one related to copper vandalism and the other due to winter storm-related damage.

"The combination of outages caused problems with 911 service, but we worked quickly to restore it so all of our customers can access emergency services," Murray said in a statement.

Frontier plans to offer up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those involved in the copper theft, Murray said, adding that tips should be given to Frontier and local law enforcement.

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While 911 calls were still flowing Tuesday evening in Kanawha County, the state capital of Charleston, the county sheriff's office said other phone issues remained unresolved. The problem is usually associated with calls between Frontier landlines and other carriers' cell phones. Some callers were getting a busy signal or no response when dialing the sheriff's office and other locations, the office said in a news release.

The office advised callers to reach out using a landline until the problem was resolved.

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