Whittier Fire knocks out cell service

Damaged cable blamed

Whittier Fire knocks out cell phone...

SANTA MARIA, Calif. - An unknown number of AT&T cell phone customers and other cell phone customers in Santa Barbara County have been without service since the Whittier Fire exploded last weekend.

An AT&T spokesperson says its cellular towers near the Whittier Fire were not damaged.

The company spokesperson says a cable owned by Frontier Communications linked to its cell towers was damaged in the fire which has caused the service disruption to customers.

"Terrible because it affects my job", says Village resident Suzanne Melendez, "my job needs to get ahold of me, I'm a nurse, they can't get ahold of me for the clients."

"I've got my mother in assisted living and whenever she falls, and she falls frequently, they have to call me and I meet them down in the emergency room, so that's a little difficult", adds Village resident Debbie Harman.

If they want to use their cell phones they have to get in the car and drive to a location that has a strong enough signal.

"As soon as I get to the bridge in Lompoc I get all my texts and my phones calls", Harman says, "but for some reason in the Village there's no service and its been since last Saturday."

"My kids can't ahold of me in Sacramento, everybody thinks I'm mad because I'm not texting them back or anything", Melendez says, "if I try to get service I have to go all the way down by the airport."

And nowadays for many, relying on a landline is no longer an option.

"Most people don't have landlines anymore luckily my brother had a landline", Harman says.

"We do but its hooked up to the WiFi which is not working right now either", Melendez says, "maybe we should start sending smoke signals or something."

The AT&T spokesperson says AT&T is working with Frontier Communications to restore service as soon as possible.

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