More than 48 hours after the Christmas Day suicide bombing devastated a block of Nashville’s 2nd Avenue North, the Williamson County Emergency Management Agency remains one of several agencies experiencing a disrupted 911 system in Tennessee.
The system is still functioning by way of an alternate phone number, (615)790-5550, or (615)371-0160 in Brentwood.
According to WCEMA External Affairs Officer Hannah Bleam, the disruption has resulted in no significant delays in dispatching first responders on emergency calls in Williamson County. Bleam also said that the incident has not affected the county’s internal communications.
AT&T, whose transmission facility was damaged in the bombing, saw internet and phone outages across Tennessee, Kentucky and Alabama.
According to an AT&T news release, the company has worked to restore significant amounts of power and service to both customers and inside their damaged facility.
“What has made network restoration so difficult is doing it while maintaining the integrity of an active crime scene in cooperation with federal and local law enforcement,” the news release reads. “Hundreds of employees – our own AT&T employees as well as first responders – have stepped in over the last two days to restore service. We’ve restored power to multiple floors in the building and deployed over 25 temporary satellite cell towers and 24 additional trailers of disaster recovery equipment across the impacted area,”
“Given its importance to customers and first responders, we prioritized restoration of wireless service. As of now, 96% of our wireless network is restored, 60% of our business services are restored, and 86% of our consumer broadband and entertainment services are restored. It is our goal to restore all service late today,” the Sunday evening release reads.
While AT&T is making progress on restoring infrastructure, Williamson County’s traditional 911 phone line may continue to experience issues.
“While we do not currently have a timeline from AT&T for the recovery of 9-1-1 lines, we are reaching out to them regularly to stay up-to-date on their progress,” Bleam said in an email. “We are still trying to collect information about the specific reason behind the 9-1-1 outage, and hope to receive more clear answers over the next few days.”
Bleam also said that while this disruption is the most widespread they’ve seen, earlier this year WCEMA also experienced a temporary loss of administrative phone lines for several weeks due to the March tornado that devastated parts of Nashville.
WCEMA is providing updates on their website, as well as offering tips for customers to attempt to place phone calls by using wifi connections. Those instructions are listed below.
Be sure you are connected to a working WiFi network
Go to settings and click “Cellular”
Click on “Wi-Fi Calling”
Slide “Wi-Fi Calling on This iPhone” to ON
Click “Enable” Wi-Fi Calling
Follow the prompts to enter your home address and then click “Verify address. or confirm”
Pull down the notification shade and long-press the Wi-Fi icon to enter Wi-Fi settings.
Scroll to the bottom and select “Wi-Fi Preferences”.
Select Wi-Fi Calling and flip the switch to “On”.
Residents with monitored burglar, fire or medical alarms may also experience issues with alarms not notifying first responders.
On Sunday law enforcement officials named 63-year-old Antioch resident Anthony Quinn Warner as the suspect in the bombing, of which he was the only fatality. Warner was identified through DNA testing of "human matter" found at the scene.
The bomb also injured three other people in the historic, mixed-use, commercial and residential district.