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Verizon to Restore Service for California Customers Affected by Wildfire

by ‎09-17-2010 05:33 PM - edited ‎09-17-2010 05:35 PM

EPSN0408.JPGAs soon as firefighters said it was safe, Verizon technicians were hiking mountainous terrain charred by a fast-moving wildfire in California's Southern Sierras this week, making plans to restore telephone service to 53 homes in the area.


Construction engineer Lewis Edrozo was one of the first Verizon employees to enter the area burned by the blaze, which firefighters expect to have fully contained by Sunday.


“I’m going to have to replace my boots,” says Edrozo. “The soles have melted because the ground was so hot. It’s high altitude, so the air is thin, it’s very steep and with the heat and smoke, those are tough conditions. But we should have all the customers back in service with a few days.”


The fire burned almost two miles of telephone cable serving homes in and around the community of Weldon above Lake Isabella. As soon as the ground cools down enough, Verizon crews will lay a temporary cable through the burned area to restore dial tone for these customers.


While service is out, Verizon is offering free call forwarding to affected customers. Residents can have their calls directed to a wireline or wireless number by calling Verizon at (800) 483-1000.


"Staying in touch with family and friends is more important than ever when you face a natural disaster like this wildfire, so we hope the free call forwarding service provides a little peace of mind to these customers at a difficult time," said California Operations President Margaret Serjak.


Once the temporary line is in place, Verizon crews will bring in 17 new telephone poles to replace those damaged by the fire. In some areas, the terrain is so steep that new poles will have to be delivered by a helicopter. Permanent telephone lines will be put on the new poles within two or three weeks.


“We met with some of the residents when we were up there,” Edrozo says. “Though it’s sad to see such a beautiful area burn, they are happy that they still have their homes, and they said they were very surprised to see us there so quickly.”

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Bob stays on top of developments and issues with Verizon’s Consumer and Mass Business segment from his home base in Florida. He has been involved with Fios since it was first being developed and deployed in 2004.

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