Half of the county's emergency answering system was still operating under backup mode this morning.
NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- A computer system failure at Verizon telephone offices in Pittsburgh knocked the Lawrence County 911 center off line Sunday and the system still wasn't functioning properly this morning.
The system failure wasn't believed to be tied to the storm that passed through western Pennsylvania about that time.
Frank Jannetti, Lawrence County 911 director, said the system went down around 2:30 p.m. Sunday and an automated backup connection that should have kicked in to keep service intact failed to activate.
People dialing 911 for help found only a busy signal and the center tried to get information out through the news media that people could call its 10-digit emergency line at (724) 656-4940 for assistance, he said.
People could also dial 911 on a cellular phone and get routed to the Lawrence County center, he said.
Verizon was able to get the service back on line around 6:10 p.m. but it failed again around 11 p.m. for a short time, Jannetti said.
The system came back on line but only half of it is on the normal computer link through Verizon's Pittsburgh office. The other half is running through Verizon's backup system, he said.
"We don't know what happened. You'll have to ask Verizon," Jannetti said this morning.
Calls to Verizon seeking an explanation for the system failure weren't immediately returned.
The failure also affected the 911 system in the city of Pittsburgh, which was out from 2:30 to 6 p.m.