A telecommunications fiber-optic cable damaged during a brush fire earlier this month collapsed as workers tried to repair it Thursday, temporarily cutting telephone service to thousands of customers, officials said.
“The crew was doing some routine extension and was repairing the cable, but it was so weakened that it gave way,” said Michelle Payer, an MCI Telecommunications Corp. spokeswoman.
She said the cable was damaged when a brush fire roared through Camp Pendleton on Nov. 6 and 7.
Kathleen Keegan, an MCI spokeswoman in Washington, said the cable collapsed about 8:30 a.m. on the outskirts of Oceanside, but was repaired within two hours.
“The reason we were able to repair it so quickly was because it was an aerial cable,” Keegan said.
She said the problem forced the carrier to reroute several thousand telephone calls in and out of the 619 area code. She said she did not know how the line was cut.
“The cut affected the equivalent of about 14,000 simultaneous calls,” Keegan said.
AT&T; spokeswoman Jane Young said many callers used the AT&T; long-distance service heavily during the interim.
“It was Mother’s Day revisited,” Young said. “All the circuits were busy and our people in Denver who monitor the network thought that we had an earthquake out here because of all the San Diego lights flashing.”