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FIRE UPDATE: GTE CALIFORNIA IMPLEMENTS 'NETWORK MANAGEMENT' TO CONTINUE PROVIDING PHONE SERVICE; CUSTOMERS CAN EXPECT SLOW DIAL TONE, ARE URGED TO AVOID UNNECESSARY CALLING; SPOTTED OUTAGES CONTINUE THROUGHOUT SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA AS GTE PREPARES PLACING EMERGENCY PHONES

 THOUSAND OAKS, Calif., Oct. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- GTE California continues to report no employee injuries, no damage to company buildings or major outages as of 12:05 a.m. today, as fires, fanned by Santa Ana winds, continue to ravage the Southland.
 Customers are urged to use the telephone for emergencies only. Callers should expect slow dial tone as GTE's switching network manages the flow of calls to continue to provide telephone service.
 GTE plans to place telephone coin trailers in two major areas affected by the fire about 4 a.m. Thursday. Mobile banks of eight coin phones each will be moved to locations at Pacific Coast Highway and Yorba Buena in Malibu, the Malibu Community Center and a site to be determined in Laguna Beach. GTE is preparing to dispatch additional mobile units to other areas, as needed.
 GTE "Gopaks" that each include five mobile cellular telephones and a fax machine have been provided to fire departments in Ventura and Laguna Beach. Additionally, telephones have been provided to the Ventura Sheriff Department.
 In the initial fire affecting the Thousand Oaks area, which started Tuesday, one significant outage was the loss of a fiber-optic cable on Laguna Peak in the Santa Monica Mountains. That loss disrupted various non-GTE communication systems on the peak. The cable span was severed Wednesday morning when fire swept through the canyons to the Pacific Ocean. Communications for the Pt. Mugu Naval Yard were not disrupted, as earlier reported.
 GTE had about 1,600 customers out of service in the 330 communities throughout its serving area, as of 5 p.m. Wednesday. The largest outage happened mid-morning Wednesday in the city of Mentone, near Redlands, where 1,200 customers lost telephone service after fire melted a 12,000- foot, fiber-optic cable.
 Other service outages include 260 customers in Yucaipa and 139 customers in Homeland. At 2 p.m. Wednesday, GTE also evacuated its Mentone customer contact center when that facility was inundated by heavy smoke and Laguna Beach service yard when those facilities were threatened by encroaching fires.
 GTE urges customers to refrain from using their telephones except for emergencies. This will keep the public phone system open for people truly in an emergency situation.
 The company suggests that people in fire-affected areas utilize an out-of-state contact to let family and friends know they are safe. This will help keep the California phone network less congested, and enhance chances that family and friends nationwide can be more easily contacted.
 Utility efforts to assess damage and coordinate service restoration are limited because emergency agencies are restricting utilities' access to fire-affected areas due to safety concerns.
 However, GTE will continue to man its Emergency Operating Center, monitor the situation, coordinate restoration efforts and provide periodic media updates until conditions return to normal.
 -0- 10/28/93
 /CONTACT: Larry Cox or Mike Murray at the GTE California 24-Hour News Bureau, 800-227-5556/
 (GTE)


CO: GTE California ST: California IN: TLS SU:

ML -- NYON2 -- 7645 10/28/93 03:03 EDT
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Date:Oct 28, 1993
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