911 Center Back to Normal Operations After Fire
UPDATED - 11:07 PM
COLUMBIA - The Columbia-Boone County Joint Communications is now back to full operations after a small fire impacted the center's phone lines. Nine units responded late Sunday to the Columbia-Boone County Joint Communications Center on Seventh St. Workers in the building had reportedly put out a fire on their own before the units arrived. There were six staff members in the operations center at the time and no one was injured.
At one point the center asked residents of Boone County to call 911 for "life and death emergencies only" when services were down to one working line.
Joint Communications reported a lot of smoke coming from an electrical outlet, but no full on flames. Joint Communications PIO Scott Smith said they are setting up a backup location at the Armory Sports Center on Ash Street in order to be fully functioning off-site while crews are fixing lines.
Officials reported they evacuated employees from the Joint Communications center, as well as prisoners in the Columbia Police holding cells. As of 10:15 Sunday night, those prisoners were back in their cells.
Smith said CenturyLink arrived at the scene around 10:40 to repair the service.
Public Safety Joint Communication Director Zim Schwartze released this statement, "We are very thankful that this incident did not result in any injuries. The fire was limited to one call-taking area, but did temporarily affect other consoles as well. Our center is once again fully operational and residents can continue to call 911 for life-threatening emergencies."