FRESNO, Calif (KFSN) -- The problem started when a construction crew working on the Avenue 12 overpass on Highway 99 accidentally cut a copper phone cable. The Madera County Sheriff's Office was among the customers affected.
"We had very limited incoming landline phones and no internet service."
Lt. Bill Ward said the biggest impact was to the county's 9-1-1 emergency service. But within minutes of the outage they were re-routed.
Ward explained, "We were handling 911 calls but they were being answered in Chowchilla PD instead of here and we did send one of our dispatchers up to Chowchilla."
The sheriff's department also lost internet service, but managed to get a few computers hooked up to a satellite connection and others to WiFi hotspots.
The outage primarily affected old fashioned landline phone technology but individuals and even government agencies were able to rely on cell phones until the problem.
Kelly Woodard said, "It has been difficult especially yesterday when they went out because we are a 24 hour function, but we sent staff around to make sure they had their cell phones. Particularly our 24 hour function our child welfare and adult services we basically let our partners know they could reach us on our cell phones."
Woodard is the director of the Madera County Department of Social Services. She told us because the lines were dead a lot of clients were unable to contact the office.
"You see a lot of cars in our parking lot that might be an aftermath of that," said Woodard.
AT&T could not tell us how many customers in the three county area were affected. But the company says all services have been restored.