From page 2 of the Sunday, February 7, 1965 Palladium-Item, a partial story.
[The first part of this story most likely was a recap of the previous coverage.]
Moving On Highway From Illinois Town
Civil Defense officials, operating an emergency radio network based at City Hall, also urged persons to limit their use of the radio system to calls for medical aid, an ambulance, fire or police.
Paralleling installation of emergency work, according to William P. Rigdon, company manager, was preparation of facilities to receive new, permanent equipment.
Rigdon said that all new equipment will be installed on the second floor of the company's newer building, north of the area which burned. The old switchroom, almost entirely consumed by fire, will be sealed off and no efforts will be made to clear it until all new facilities are installed.
Space AvailableRigdon said adequate space is available in the newer area to make this possible. Previous plans for expansion, now postponed indefinitely, will be carried out after the fire-gutted area is cleared and rebuilt. Exact fire loss will be determined at this time also, when total damage can be assessed.
Companies of the Richmond Fire Department were called back to the phone office twice in two days following the fire. Both times, Friday afternoon and, Sunday, smoke was observed coming out of ventilators. In each case, it was believed smoke was escaping from pockets formed in the basement of the building. No additional fire was noted.
Arrival of the Illinois switchboard will bring to more than 9,000 the potential number of phone lines which can be hooked into emergency manual equipment. However, according to Rigdon, it may be weeks, if ever, before this number is even approached.
Other lines scheduled to be tied into the emergency system at an early date are those serving industrial and other private switchboards. Restoration of service to home phones will not begin until business lines are back in operation on the temporary system.
Exactly how many lines will be hooked into manual facilities will depend on speed with which new automatic dialing equipment can be obtained and installed. It is hoped these units will be in operation within a few weeks, although telephone officials declined to give any estimate of time.
"Ahead Of Schedule"Although most repair work is slow and painfully tedious, Rigdon said restoration efforts were running "well ahead of schedule."
Identification of individual phone lines, as they enter the telephone building, was coming along well. A total of 24 cables,each carrying 300 sets of wires, was run from the basement area where phone lines come in, into the garage where temporary equipment is set up. As each phone line is identified it is spliced into wires in one of the new cables and connected into circuit frames in the garage.
These lines eventually will be hooked into switchboard facilities. For the present, however, only emergency-circuit phones are being so handled.
Workmen were also busy cleaning switching equipment, located in the newer building, which was only smoke stained and not physically touched by fire. Although the cleaning job was a painstaking, slow one, it was hoped eventually several hundred dial telephones would be put back into operation.
Rigdon stressed that all phases of the rehabilitation are, and will continue to be very slow, and urged the public to bear with the phone company. He said that, work which has been completed in the past 60 hours would have taken "at least 10 to 12 weeks."
Officials from General Telephone of Indiana, Inc., parent company to the local firm, announced Saturday that phone customers will be billed only for long distance calls made as long as service is out. No local service charge will be accessed.
Those whose phone are put back into service later torturously be billed only for the period and to the extent their phone was in operation. This itself will be a big bookkeeping job.
Other Equipment ArrivesDuring emergency conditions, other shipments of heavy equipment also have been arriving in the city. Largest of these was 46,000 pounds of lead-covered cable, shipped by air freight from San Fransisco to Chicago, and trucked the remainder of the way.
Ordinarily, phone officials said, such a load might have taken a week to arrive. Under emergency conditions, however, the trip required less than 12 hours. The cable arrived here Saturday morning.
Long distance service, partially established only 12 hours after the fire was brought under control Thursday, has expanded steadily since that time.
A total of 25 telephones for long distance dialing are on hand for emergency use at telephone headquarters. All phones on the emergency network may be tied into long distance lines. Trunk lines to other cities have been opened. Most recent of these was the circuit to Chicago, put back in service Saturday by the Indiana Bell system.
Transcribed by James E. Bellaire
Copyright 1965 Palladium-Item