Arson causes outages for Valley Cox Communications customers

Sep 24, 2020, 9:27 AM | Updated: 5:16 pm
(Cox Communications Photo)...
(Cox Communications Photo)
(Cox Communications Photo)

PHOENIX – Many Valley customers of Cox Communications woke up without internet and television service Thursday morning because somebody set fire to a Phoenix power pole the previous day, authorities said.

Phoenix Fire Capt. Rob McDade told KTAR News 92.3 FM that firefighters extinguished a burning Arizona Public Service pole near Third Street and Bell Road on Wednesday afternoon.

Crews immediately observed traffic lights and power going out in the area and realized it was more than just simple fire.

“Two fire investigators came out and the determination was made that this fire was, indeed, intentionally set,” McDade said.

McDade said the fire department didn’t learn until Thursday that Cox service had also been impacted.

“It looks like somebody starting a small pole fire is really having a lot of collateral damage with communications throughout the city,” he said.

The fire damaged several thousand fiber connections, and crews have been working since Wednesday night to make repairs, a Cox spokeswoman said Thursday in an email.

Service for almost all customers was restored by about 4:30 p.m., the spokeswoman said.

The email said services would be restored throughout the day.

APS said the fire caused an electrical outage at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday for around 2,700 customers, and power was restored after about 45 minutes.

The Cox Customer Care Twitter account was busy responding with apologies to messages about outages Thursday morning.

Down Detector, a website that tracks internet issues via user reports, listed six Valley cities among its top nine most reported locations as of Thursday morning: Phoenix, Tempe, Mesa, Gilbert, Scottsdale, Chandler and Glendale.

Down Detector showed a spike in Valley reports around 9-10 p.m. Wednesday and again around 7 a.m. Thursday.

The Phoenix fire and police departments are investigating the fire and seeking witnesses, McDade said.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Martha Maurer contributed to this report.

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Arson causes outages for Valley Cox Communications customers