FBI joins probe into Whatcom phone outage

SEATTLE – The FBI has joined an investigation into the cutting of fiber-optic cables that limited telephone service throughout Whatcom County, including Bellingham, for six hours on Sept. 20.

There is no immediate indication that the problem was linked to terrorist attacks Sept. 11, but “we have to take a look at it,” FBI agent Ray Lauer said. “It interrupted a lot of emergency services.”

The problem began when cables were severed in a connector hut near Stanwood, Qwest spokesman Michael Dunne said.

For about six hours, those affected by the outage could still call locally, but could not receive calls from or make calls to outside areas, Dunne said.

Bellingham Police Chief Randy Carroll said the outage severely restricted 911 emergency service, but no serious police or fire emergencies were missed.

The only lines that were cut involved service in Whatcom County, indicating that whoever was responsible had some knowledge of the phone system, Carroll said.

Sewage leaking into Puget Sound: King County officials were diverting some sewage into Puget Sound on Monday night after a sewage pipeline leak was discovered near Carkeek Park. The leak about 10 feet off the beach was spilling through an abandoned line that is connected to a main sewer line. Repair work can’t be done until low tide on Tuesday. Health department crews have posted signs along the beach warning swimmers about pollution. In an unrelated incident Monday, about 1,500 gallons of sewage was dumped into Kelsey Creek in Bellevue during work to repair corrosion on a pipeline that carries sewage to the Renton treatment plant.

Longtime broadcaster dead at 87: Jerry Geehan, 87, a longtime sports broadcaster, radio station owner, civic activist and lifelong Tacoma resident, died Friday. He began his broadcasting career at KVI Radio in 1932 and became the first broadcaster for the Tacoma Tigers, a semiprofessional baseball team, in 1937. The next year Geehan went to work at KMO, broadcasting college baseball games and doing a daily sports roundup. In 1952 he bought KTAC and ran the station for 17 years. Geehan was president of the Downtown Tacoma Association from 1969 to 1972 and was general manager of Tacoma Cemetery Association.

Woman’s body found on beach: A woman whose body was found Monday on a beach about two miles north of here apparently drowned, Grays Harbor County Coroner Ed Fleming said. The woman, believed to have been in her 20s, may have been in the water as long as a year, Fleming said after an autopsy. There were no signs of trauma. His office will try to identify her through teeth and dental work. Authorities have no missing persons reports that would fit the body, sheriff’s Deputy Ed Patrick said.

From Herald wire services

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