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GTE CALIFORNIA NEARS END OF 'FIRESTORM '93' RESTORATION EFFORT; DAMAGE ESTIMATED AT $5.5 MILLION; 70 MILES OF TELEPHONE CABLE

 THOUSAND OAKS, Calif., Nov. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Rebuilding from one of California's most devastating wildfires ever, GTE California today said it is completing its restoration effort, at a cost of about $5.5 million, restoring service to about 3,000 customers and replacing 370,000 feet -- more than 70 miles of telephone cable.
 "Our employees have been working extended shifts to restore telephone service to customers affected by the fires," said Larry Sparrow, GTE West Area president. "As of today, every GTE customer in the affected areas, whose home or business is still intact, has at least one working telephone line.
 "We will continue to help those displaced by the fires stay in touch with loved ones and business associates by providing them free remote call forwarding or Personal Secretary, our voice-messaging service. We will continue to waive monthly basic service charges for 90 days from when a customer was displaced from his home or business. Customers will pay only for toll charges associated with remote call forwarding.
 "Thereafter, displaced customers will pay their basic phone rate, but can receive either remote call forwarding or Personal Secretary free of charge until October 1994." (Nearly 500 customers have signed up for these free services). Residential English- and Spanish-speaking customers can order either service at 800-483-4000. English-speaking business customers can order either service at 800-483-5000. Spanish- speaking business customers can order either service by calling GTE's Language Assistance Center at 800-483-7724.
 Sparrow said GTE crews began restoration efforts as soon as fire and law enforcement agencies allowed them into fire-stricken areas. GTE had no employee deaths or injuries, nor did it lose any buildings in the fires.
 However, GTE lost large amounts of cable in both the Malibu-Topanga and Laguna Beach areas. To help speed the relief effort in the Southland, GTE Foundation donated $75,000 to the American Red Cross at Malibu, Nov. 8.
 GTE's Recovery Effort -- Thousand Oaks: GTE activated its Emergency Operating Center Oct. 26 to coordinated restoration efforts. In each affected division, managers oversaw local command centers, deploying workforces, equipment and supplies.
 Malibu -- Serra Retreat & Serra Road: Five homes were destroyed, 132 addresses with 423 lines were out of service. GTE gained access to the area Nov. 4 and had restored service by Nov. 7, replacing 3,200 feet of cable.
 Carbon Canyon: GTE completed restoration efforts on Nov. 9, replacing 4,000 feet of cable to 45 addresses and 111 lines; fire destroyed 20 homes.
 Rambla Pacifico/Saddlepeak: Fire destroyed 80 of 372 addresses, 758 lines out of service. On Saddlepeak, cable was burned connecting GTE customers served from its Zuma central office to the world, as well as cable connecting microwave towers for AT&T, the Federal Aeronautics Administration, CATV, various radio stations, etc. GTE resolved this by microwaving calls from its Zuma central office to Saddlepeak tower, to a temporary "hub" at Rambla Pacifico. Temporary restoration effort began Nov. 7 and by Nov. 11, each customer had at least one working phone line. GTE replaced 83,000 feet of cable by Nov. 13 and will complete splicing, testing of complete permanent facilities by Nov. 20.
 Las Flores Canyon: Fire destroyed 100 of 125 addresses, 293 lines out of service. GTE started restoration efforts Nov. 6. On Nov. 8 all lines were working over temporary facilities. Permanent restoral by Nov. 30.
 Big Rock: Fire destroyed 19 of 212 addresses, 404 lines out of service. GTE had 50 percent restoral by Nov. 11; total, restoration completed Nov. 12. Topanga: Ten of 75 homes were destroyed, 214 lines out of service. GTE began restoring service on Nov. 4; all but 31 services were restored by Nov. 9. These services and Topanga side of Saddlepeak were restored 6 p.m., Nov. 12.
 Laguna Beach: Fire destroyed 360 homes. GTE received 150 repair reports and began restoration efforts on Oct. 28. Service was restored to all existing structures by Nov. 5.
 Lake Sherwood/Carlisle Canyon: Eight homes destroyed. Facilities completed by Nov. 2. Yerba Buena: Four homes lost; 63,000 feet of cable burned. Restoration completed by Nov. 8. Newbury Park: Cable on Laguna Peak was burned providing ancillary services only to Pt. Magu Naval yard and F.A.A. Replaced by Nov. 2.
 Mentone/Redlands: Two homes lost, 1,200 customers out of service when fire melted a 12,000-foot fiber-optic cable. Restored Oct. 28 with temporary facilities; permanent facilities to be completed Nov. 30. Yucaipa: No homes lost; 260 customers out of service. Service restored on Oct. 28. Cherry Valley (near Beaumont): Four homes lost; 81 lines out of service. Restored on Nov. 3.
 Homeland: 29 structures were lost; 139 customers out of service. Service restored on Oct. 28.
 -0- 11/18/93
 /CONTACT: Larry Cox of GTE California, (24-hour News Bureau), 800-227-5556, or (outside Calif.) 805-373-1653/


CO: GTE California ST: California IN: UTI SU:

JB-EH -- LA029 -- 6115 11/18/93 14:28 EST
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Date:Nov 18, 1993
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