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BT fire disrupts emergency services

Update on Manchester cable fire

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A major cable fire in Manchester has brought chaos to the region as emergency services struggle to cope with a communication blackout.

According to the BBC, emergency services have been stretched after the fire damaged communication links.

Greater Manchester Ambulance Service said it was struggling after the fire damaged its radio network while some 999 services have also been hit.

And because so many phone lines have been wiped out, there are concerns that people will be unable to access 999 services in the event of an emergency.

At this early stage it's impossible to gauge the full extent of the incident that has wiped out more than 130,000 telephone lines.

The Register has received a number of reports from readers about companies hit by the fire and unable to access their systems. From banks to airlines, it seems the fire has brought many companies to their knees.

Mobile phone operator Vodafone said that some of its network had been hit and that it's working with BT to reroute calls elsewhere.

While a statement on utility giant Powergen's website reads: "We're sorry but the Powergen website is currently unavailable. This is due to a major telecommunications failure in the North of England. We're working hard to restore the service as soon as possible. Our apologies again for any inconvenience caused."

Fire crews are still dealing the incident deep down in tunnels beneath the centre of Manchester. Black smoke is reportedly billowing out as firefighters use emergency generators to ventilate the tunnels.

Said BT in its latest statement: "A fire in deep level tunnels running beneath the streets of central Manchester has caused extensive damage to cables and widespread disruption to phone services in Manchester and the surrounding area.

"The fire is affecting some 130,000 homes and businesses in the centre of the city. BT is currently assessing the extent of the damage and working to reroute and restore as many services as possible.

"However, the true extent of the repair will not become clear until the fire authority have declared the site safe and BT engineers can gain access to the tunnels. It is not possible at this stage to say how long it will be before all services are fully restored."

The fire broke out around 2.00am causing "extensive damage". ®

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BT cable fire causes 'extensive damage' in Manchester

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