Verizon’s 911 Service Fails In MD While House Burns To Ground

94 Year Old Carmela D'Antuono's home burned to the ground during Verizon Wireless 911 blackout 1/26/11 in Maryland photo: WUSA9

During a January 26th snow storm that blanketed the mid-atlantic region, Verizon Wireless failed to connect 10,000 911 calls in the state of Maryland. The FCC is taking this very seriously (as they should)

The FCC is giving Verizon until March 10th to provide a detailed report outlining what went wrong with those 10,000 calls and what Verizon plans to do to fix it.  The FCC is worried that this problem may not have been isolated to just Maryland and that it is more “widespread”

Although Verizon has not submitted their report yet they did tell the FCC that it was a routing call with 911 services and they were not the only carrier with problems.

Verizon Wireless spokesman Harry Mitchell said: “We have taken seriously the concerns about the outage that was triggered by the mass call event that occurred during the January 26th snowstorm. We have been addressing this issue directly with the counties involved, and will work cooperatively to address the FCC’s questions, as well,

James Barnett the Chief of the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, outlined the complaint in a February 17th letter that said 8,300 calls originating from Montgomery County Maryland and 1700 calls originating from Prince George’s County Maryland were blocked.

On that fateful night in January 94 year old Caermela D’Antuono of Silver Spring Maryland’s home caught on fire. Several neighbors including Sandra Marroquin, who were also Verizon Wireless customers, tried to call for help and unable to reach 911. Neighbors pulled the elderly woman from her burning home and got her to safety at a neighbors house. Neighbors also reportedly shoveled snow to make accessing the woman’s home easier.

“Verizon is committed to notifying our emergency communication center whenever there is a disruption to their service to our center and that did not happen that night,” said Lucille Baur of Montgomery County Police. “So it’s very important to us to find out what happened and take steps to make sure it does not happen again.”

Source: Fierce Wireless, Fox 5 DC, WUSA9

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