Rhode Island 911 system back up after outage

By: News Staff

Email: news@abc6.com

Twitter: @ABC6

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Rhode Island experienced a public safety crisis Monday night, after the states 911 system went down for approximately one hour.

The outage happened just before 8 p.m. State Police reported 30-40 people called for help and were unable to hear dispatchers on the other side.

The Providence Fire Department was one example of first responders who were unable to receive 911 calls. Chief William Kenyon told ABC6 News that they received five calls for help during that time, but it was only from people who called their number directly.

“There were calls through the city. There was an accident of 95, there were master boxes on the east side…” said Chief Kenyon.

The Chief added that they did not know how many calls they missed. However, that he does believe the number of calls for help received was average for that time of night.

“We still take calls through our direct line and we still would be dispatched that way. Any master boxes or street boxes that were pulled, we still responded to.”

The department said they first found out about the problem through the 911 dispatch center. Dispatch notified metro control, which is operated by the Cranston Fire Department. The alert was then sent over inter-city frequencies to all surrounding fire departments.

“I don’t really know how many calls were missed during that hour the 911 dispatch was down," said Chief Kenyon.

As of 11:30p.m. Monday night, no major issues were reported as a result of the system failure. 

State police said they were able to track down the phone numbers of people that called in for help and call them back.

The cause of the incident is currently under investigation.

©WLNE-TV / ABC6 2017