Wreck deprives Key Westers of phone for days

Imagine being without a phone for 24 hours. Now picture William and Marjorie Raney– who do not own cell phones– without a landline for five days.

Sprint successor Embarq estimates that over 350 houses, mostly in the Key West neighborhood, lost phone service when a car accident took out over 300 feet of cable around 2am Friday morning, according to Tom Matthews in Embarq media relations.

"We had people working around the clock, and all of the cable was reconnected by Saturday morning," Matthews says.

That apparently didn't apply to the Raneys. Their phone is still off the hook.

"It's a major project when you reconnect and basically reinstall a line," Matthews says. "We have to send people back in to check individual lines."

Leslie Dawley, the Raneys' daughter, says she discovered her parents' phone line was dead when she tried to send a fax from their home Friday morning.

Concerned for the safety of her parents, who are both in their 80s, Dawley called Embarq and was assured their line would be working by Saturday night.

"It's the only way to reach them," she says. "If something happens, they're a little isolated up on the hill, and my father, with advanced Alzheimer's, wouldn't know what to do."

At press time late Tuesday afternoon the Raneys were still without phone service.

The couple seem to be an exceptional case, Matthews says; service was restored to most Key West homes within 12 hours.

"We noticed our phone wasn't working around 8:30 in the morning," Key West resident Ann Pax says. "It came back on at approximately midnight."

As for the Raneys?

"People are working on that as we speak, and relatives were notified," Matthews says.

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2 comments

The whole idea of land lines seems a bit outdated these days, don't you think? I can't understand why sons and daughters of elderly parents don't make sure that they have multiple methods of communication available to them in the case of an emergency - at the very least a cell phone and some sort of home phone, whether it's old-fashioned land lines or VoIP.

Having been a resident of Key West for the last sixteen years I can report that cell phone service is very hit or miss in Key West. Adult children of eldery residents in Key West are not being negligent. The truth is that giving thier parents cell phones will not guarantee that thier parents will be able to reach the outside world.