An AT&T outage caused by a Christmas Day explosion in Nashville continued on Saturday to affect 911 operations and residential services.
By Saturday evening, social media reports from Nashville residents indicated some users started to see service return around 8 p.m., although some reported reception was still going in and out.
The company did not immediately release details on any restoration of service in the area.
Repairs were ongoing as the company attempted to restore power and assess damage to equipment at their downtown facility.
“We are beginning to restore power to the facilities in the building after connecting generators through the walls. We are hopeful this equipment maybe back online in the hours ahead. We worked with the Fire Marshal and local officials to ensure this was done safely,” the company said in a release posted around 4:50 p.m.
A suspicious RV parked outside an AT&T facility downtown near Second Avenue and Commerce Street exploded around 6:30 a.m. Friday in what authorities believe was an intentional act.
No arrests had been made, nor a motive announced as of Saturday evening. The FBI is leading the investigation.
The company announced on Saturday afternoon that some services in the Lexington, Kentucky, area had been restored, although other areas continued to see connectivity issues into the evening.
Nashville Fire Department Chief William Swann said restoring services could take days to complete.
He was hopeful the repairs could be made within the next two days.
“We’re working closely with them to ensure we can get communication established back safely,” he said at a Saturday afternoon news conference. “They’re here to work 24 hours a day. It’s a big operation with the building itself.”
Most of the Metro Nashville Police Department’s administrators and officers use AT&T, and their phones went down Friday, according to spokesperson Kris Mumford.
Mumford confirmed the department uses FirstNet, AT&T’s proprietary network for public safety agencies and first responders.
The company was pursuing multiple strategies to restore service, according to a Saturday morning news release.
Extent of damage from explosion unclear
Multiple local, state and federal law enforcement agencies continue to investigate the explosion that injured three, destroyed buildings and homes, and damaged at least 41 businesses.
The outages were reported several hours after the explosion. AT&T indicated in a Friday statement that its facility had been damaged and access to power was an issue.
By Saturday afternoon, more than six portable cell sites were operating in downtown Nashville and others were being deployed in the region.
Teams at the damaged facility faced challenges to restoring power to the equipment there. The building was evacuated overnight after a fire reignited, according to an AT&T news release.
Repair crews were focusing on “getting generators back in order,” Swann said Saturday, to get mobile phone service back online as soon as possible.
AT&T powering up equipment, rerouting service
By Saturday morning, the teams had drilled holes into the building and were attempting to reconnect power to critical equipment. Safety and structural engineers were on site.
Workers were turning off water and electricity to the Second Avenue N. area in general, to make it safer for repair crews and investigators to enter damaged buildings.
AT&T teams were also rerouting services to other facilities in the region.
“We continue to be grateful for the work of first responders as they respond to this event and help protect our team working to restore service for our customers,” the statement read.
The company said in a public statement around 5 p.m. Friday that it was sending national disaster recovery teams to the Nashville area along with regional resources to restore service.
The outage also caused flights out of Nashville International Airport to be halted on Friday, although most flights appeared to be on time Saturday morning.
AT&T on Saturday afternoon said the company planned to donate $100,000 to a growing fund created by the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corporation. The money will be dedicated to support local businesses and help law enforcement, the release said.
“We are proud to call Nashville home and to be working alongside First Responders and community leaders who are exhibiting the strength of this community,” the release from the company said.
Check back here for updates on the outage.
Middle Tennessee Electric suspending disconnections
Middle Tennessee Electric reported issues with telephone and communication access in connection to the AT&T outage. The issues are affecting payment processing services, the company said in a release Saturday afternoon.
The agency said on Saturday it would suspend disconnections for non-payment and for prepay customers, along with waiving all associated fees until payment processing services are restored.
MTE has also set up a special outage line for this temporary situation that members can call. It is 615-547-7317. The company said there was no timeframe for a restoration of service.
“This is an unprecedented communication and member service disruption for us,” MTE President Chris Jones said in the release. “Like many area businesses, MTE uses AT&T for telephone and online communication channels and services.
“However, we very much sympathize with the difficulty of this situation in Nashville. Our hearts go out to our neighbors to the north, as do our thoughts and prayers to everyone affected.”
Public safety agencies reported the outage was disrupting 911 operations in their jurisdictions from southern Kentucky to northern Alabama, largely concentrated in the Middle Tennessee area.
Most took to social media to share landlines and alternate access numbers where residents could seek emergency assistance.
Several locations in Rutherford and Williamson counties reported on Friday and Saturday their 911 system has been restored, but issues remained with receiving names and locations of callers, as well as intermittent outages.
Officials encouraged callers to be prepared to give their name and location to dispatchers immediately, and keep calling if the line is busy.
- Montgomery County – 931-648-5702
- Fort Campbell, Kentucky – 270-798-7111 (Alternate numbers: 270-798-7112, 270-798-7113, 270-798-7114)
- LaVergne – 615-471-1103
- Smyrna – 615-930-2067
- Murfreesboro – 629-201-5056
- Rutherford County Sheriff – 615-546-5793
- Middle TN State University – 615-898-2424
- Williamson County – 615-790-5550 or 615-790-5801
- Brentwood – 615-371-0160
- Overton County – 931-871-0292
- Pickett County – 931-871-0292
- Cannon County – 615-563-4322
- Mt. Juliet – 615-406-5849
- Gallatin – 615-561-2080
- Wilson County – (615-) 449-7610, (615-) 449-7243, (615-) 443-4255
- Lebanon Police Department– (615-) 444-2323
- Sumner County – 615-712-4335
- Putnam County – 931-261-6219
- Springfield – 615-384-8422, ext. 3
- Goodlettsville – 615-851-2216
- Coffee County – 931-728-2991 or 931-455-3411
- Clay County – 931-243-3266
- Cumberland County – 931-484-2203
- DeKalb County – 615-215-3000
- Fentress County – 931-752-0911
- Hardin County – 731-607-6325
- Hickman County – Police/Sheriff: 931-729-6143, ext. 2018 or 2017. For ambulance: 931-994-8943, 931-729-4922 or 931-670-0454
- Jackson County – 931-239-7524
- Smith County – 615-735-2121
- Trousdale County – 615-374-3994
- White County – 931-738-7111
- Trigg County, Kentucky – 270-522-4636
- Christian County, Kentucky – 270-852-2731
- Calloway County, Kentucky – 270-753-3151
- Fort Campbell – 911 or 270-798-7111. Also available are 270-798-7112, 270-798-7113 and 270-798-7114