TelEm Group suspects foul play following Ft. Willem cabinet fire Sunday

TelEm Group technicians are viewing as “Highly suspicious” a phone cabinet fire in the Ft. Willem Hill area over the weekend that has left residents and businesses in the area without fixed landlines and internet connections.

The cabinet was completely destroyed by the fire early Sunday morning along with three vehicles parked close by.

Fire Department officers and residents in the area are reportedly pointing to the flaming cabinet as the cause of damage to the three vehicles, however TelEm Group says in the 30 years it has been using these cabinets, none have burst into flames like this.

“These cabinets do not carry the kind of electrical connections and voltage that can cause this kind of damage, so we will be asking the proper authorities to carry out a thorough investigation to determine how the fire started in the first place,” said TelEm Group’s Acting Manager, Outside Plant, Mr. Steve Simmons, Sunday evening.

He said a work crew will assess the extent that underground telecommunication cables leading to the damaged cabinet have been affected by the fire.

Mr. Simmons also said a new cabinet will have to be installed and all connections to homes and properties restored, but first TelEm Group will have to establish ownership of the property where the cabinet is located so that technicians can begin restoration work right away.

TelEm Group estimates it could take up to three weeks to completely restore services to customers and meantime Chief Technical Officer (CTO) Mr. Eldert Louisa, says the company is making it a priority to replace the fire-damaged cabinet, but also wants a thorough investigation into the cause of the cabinet fire.

Mr. Louisa has apologized to TelEm Group customers in the affected areas (Ft. Willem, Belair, Little Bay) for the interruption in services caused by a situation beyond the company’s control.

Mr. Louisa has also apologized to Belair and Little Bay Hotels who also have lost TelEm Group telecommunication services.