Prepaid cellphone was only way to get help

DUNLAP, Tenn. (AP) -- For several hours, the only way to reach a 911 operator in Sequatchie County Tuesday morning was by calling a single cellphone.

An equipment failure knocked out nearly 5,000 land telephone lines in the Dunlap area early Tuesday. So a state emergency management official went to Wal-Mart and bought a prepaid cellphone.

Mike Twitty, who directs emergency communications in Sequatchie County, told the Chattanooga Times Free Press ( ) the 911 center put out the cellphone number on its Facebook page and over area radio and television stations.

The outage apparently didn't affect anyone needing immediate response. Twitty said he had not heard from anyone who said they couldn't get through to the 911 center.

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