Temporarily disconnected

By Karl Terry: PNT Managing Editor

Several hundred Portales and Roosevelt County residents were without phone service throughout the day Thursday after Qwest phone lines were cut Wednesday afternoon.

Qwest spokesperson Gary Younger said a contractor doing work in the area of South Avenue B and Third Street had cut a bundle of lines, causing a major outage of phone service. The outage included the Roosevelt County Law Enforcement Center, which had 911 service rerouted overnight Wednesday through Clovis.

The center had its service restored about 8 a.m. Thursday.

The repair is progressing and is actually ahead of what we thought it would be,” Younger said.

Qwest officials couldn’t pinpoint specific geographic areas affected or the exact number of customers. Younger said extra crews and supervisors had been brought to keep repair work going until it was restored. He said that repairs would not likely be finished until sometime this morning, though customers’ service would be returning as the repairs progressed.

Wanda Pettus, who lives on North Kilgore said her service was restored about 3:30 p.m. Thursday. She said Thursday evening she was still having problems with her dialup Internet service, however.

“I actually first noticed it when I got home from church last night about eight,” Pettus said. “I have a cell, but most people don’t know that number. It was a mess for awhile.”

Other residents in east and northeast Portales reported being without service.

According to workers on the scene of the repair, a crew drilling wells to monitor gasoline spills cut the cables.

City officials nor Qwest knew the name of the company, but Portales Public Works Director Tom Howell said the company drills the wells every few months to monitor the progress of gasoline spills from decades ago under federal underground storage tank regulations.