Fire disrupts TelEm Group connection in Fort Willem | THE DAILY HERALD

PHILIPSBURG–TelEm Group announced in a press release on Sunday that its technicians are working to restore its phone and Internet connection lines after a phone-cabinet fire in the Fort Willem Hill area on Sunday morning.

The fire left residents and businesses in the area without fixed landline and Internet connections, as the cabinet was completely destroyed along with three vehicles parked nearby.

“Fire Department officers and residents in the area are reportedly pointing to the flaming cabinet as the cause of damage to the three vehicles, however TelEm Group says in the 30 years it has been using these cabinets, none have burst into flames like this.

“These cabinets do not carry the kind of electrical connections and voltage that can cause this kind of damage, so we will be asking the proper authorities to carry out a thorough investigation to determine how the fire started in the first place,” said TelEm Group’s Outside Plant Acting Manager Steve Simmons on Sunday evening.

He said a work crew will assess the extent to which underground telecommunication cables leading to the damaged cabinet have been affected by the fire. He also said a new cabinet will have to be installed and all connections to homes and properties restored, but first TelEm Group will have to establish ownership of the property where the cabinet is located so that technicians can begin restoration work right away.
TelEm Group estimates it could take up to three weeks to completely restore services to customers.

Chief Technical Officer (CTO) Eldert Louisa said the company is making it a priority to replace the fire-damaged cabinet, but also wants a thorough investigation into the cause of the cabinet fire. He apologised to TelEm Group customers in the affected areas (Fort Willem, Belair, Little Bay) for the interruption in services caused by a situation beyond the company’s control. He also apologised to Belair and Divi Little Bay Hotels, which also have lost TelEm Group telecommunication services.

Source: The Daily Herald