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Fire at Escondido AT&T building disrupts city's 911 dispatch, landline service

Posted at 9:47 AM, Feb 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-27 15:07:42-05

ESCONDIDO, Calif. (KGTV) -- A fire that erupted inside an AT&T building in Escondido caused problems with the city’s 911 dispatch and thousands of landlines early Thursday morning.

At around 5 a.m., firefighters were called to AT&T’s building on West Second Avenue at Broadway in response to reports of black smoke coming from the second floor.

Crews were able to put out the blaze that was inside a room where batteries are stored, and firefighters and a hazardous materials crew worked to air out the building due to the fumes.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

The Escondido Fire Department said the city’s 911 calls had to be redirected to Carlsbad due to the fire. Fire officials said Escondido residents can still use the 911 text service for any emergencies.

Fire officials earlier estimated 81,000 impacted landline phones, however, an AT&T spokesperson said that number accounts for the lines that run to the building and are not all active.

The total of affected customers is a "fraction of that number," said Jim Kimberly, AT&T Corporate Communications Director.

"Wireline customers in the Escondido area may be unable to complete some calls because of equipment damage from a fire at one of our buildings. We are working to assess the damage and make repairs as quickly and safely as possible. We apologize for any inconvenience," Kimberly said.