Overnight phone service cut off in Tulsa

TULSA, Okla. - A widespread telephone outage disrupted service to the 918 area code for hours early Tuesday, including emergency service in some northeast Oklahoma cities.

A partial power outage at a Southwestern Bell switching station in downtown Tulsa blacked out some telephone services to about 170,000 customers in northeast Oklahoma for about two hours early Tuesday, a company spokesman said. Crews restored power to the station around 5 a.m.

The cause of the failure was not immediately determined, said Southwestern Bell spokesman Marty Richter.

''We were able to restore it, and we are back on,'' Richter said at 8:30 a.m.

During the outage, widespread problems were reported throughout northeast Oklahoma.

The Rogers County Sheriff's Office said 911 service was disrupted. Authorities in Muskogee County said their 911 service was working but a system for checking license plate numbers and warrants went down.

Until emergency services were restored in Tulsa, the city placed police, fire and ambulance units at major intersections and convenience stores to be available for residents needing emergency assistance.

Tulsa officials said they knew of no emergency calls that were missed.

The city is practiced in dealing with phone cutoffs.

In 1992, the sale of tickets to a Garth Brooks concert was blamed for jamming phone lines in Tulsa and preventing a man from reaching 911 after his wife had a fatal heart attack.

In 1998, an outage caused by flooding at the same downtown Southwestern Bell building where Tuesday's outage originated shut down the city's 911 system for 51 minutes and left it working intermittently for several hours.


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