Fire leaves hospital inaccessible by telephone

POSTED: 07/11/11 12:59 PM

St. Maarten – Telem technicians worked through the weekend and restored 80 percent of telephone communication lines in Cay Hill. The outage, caused by damage to one of the company’s telephone cabinets on the Welgelegen Road affected the St. Maarten Medical Center and over 300 other subscribers.

“During the course of the business day Monday we will completed the restoration of lines to the affected areas,” Outside Plant Manager Anthony Carty said.

The telephone cabinet was set ablaze by a person or persons unknown at approximately 12:00 midnight, Friday. A metal bar was found on the scene indicating that the cabinet was forced open and the contents of the cabinet set alight.

TelEm Group technicians went to the scene and assessed the damage on Saturday and provided a temporary communication system for the Medical Center making use of the company’s mobile network. The “patch” was set up after police and firemen had inspected the scene of the fire.

Chief Technical Officer (CTO) Mr. Eldert Louisa said police were called to the scene and reports are now awaited from the Fire Department. He also said the damage affected homes and businesses in the immediate vicinity surrounding the roundabout at Link 1/junction on the Welgelegen Road.

“All we can say at this stage is that the damage to the cabinet seems to be deliberate and with a purpose and we urge everyone in the vicinity to be especially cautious at this time,” Louisa said.

Police are investigating Friday’s fire and TelEm Group is reviewing security and stepping up surveillance of its telephone cabinets throughout Dutch St. Maarten.

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