Thousands of Verizon customers across the Merrimack Valley, including some in North Reading, lost phone and internet service Monday when a fire in Lawrence destroyed a critical cable.
Both land lines and cell phone customers were impacted. As of 4:30 p.m., Verizon crews were still working to repair the damage. Service was being restored gradually across the region. There is no timetable for complete service restoration, according to company officials.
According to Tewksbury Police and published reports, the problems began when a mattress under a bridge in Lawrence caught fire early Monday morning. Before being extinguished, the fire burned through a nearby Verizon cable.
Communities impacted by the outages include North Reading, Tewksbury, Andover, North Andover, Wilmington, Methuen, Lawrence and Littleton.
Among those impacted was the Tewksbury Police Department, which was without phone service much of the day. By mid afternoon, TPD phone service was “hit or miss” and residents were being asked to call 911 with any Police Department needs.
The Registry of Motor Vehicles in Lawrence and Wilmington also experienced a loss of phone service and both closed for the day as a result.