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Fiber optic line cut disrupts 9-1-1, financial operations

Lower Yakima Valley residents weren't able to conduct financial transactions or contact 9-1-1 operators yesterday between 9 a.m. and 2:45 p.m.

That's because a fiber optic line near Moxee was cut during the installation of a light pole, according to CenturyLink spokeswoman Kerry Zimmer.

She said approximately 20,000 residents were affected by the communications outage.

In addition to emergency and financial services being affected, Lower Valley residents were unable to make long distance calls. The break in the fiber optic line was the primary reason the services were disrupted.

Sunnyside U.S. Bank Branch Manager Doris Kresse said her bank opened for a short period of time before closing, then reopening again.

"A lot of it has to do with security. Our machines, server and phone communications were down...everything was blind and you can't operate a bank that way," she said.

Just after 3 p.m. the bank was reopened and everything was back to business as usual.

Shoppers, too, were affected, according to Sunnyside Safeway Store Manager Nate Payne.

He said his store was able to process credit transactions, checks and cash purchases. But, Quest and debit transactions were not possible.

Sunnyside Deputy Fire Chief Lloyd Hazzard said an emergency broadcast was issued via television and radio, alerting citizens to go directly to the fire or police station in the case of an emergency due to the disruption of 9-1-1 services.

"We had to make sure someone was at the station to make sure the needs of citizens were met until the phone lines were working again," he said, adding every Yakima County Fire District #5 station was manned, as well.

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