UPDATE: Fire at Morris Building Impacts AT&T Wireless Coverage

UPDATE 7/31/14 @ 4:14 p.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Crews are still working at the Morris Building in downtown Huntington following a massive fire Sunday morning.

Thursday, fencing was put up outside the building until a structural engineer can get on scene.

Investigators believe it started in an old elevator shaft, causing severe fire damage to the roof and water damage to the several floors beneath.

Now, that damage impacts thousands of others, trying to use AT&T Wireless.

AT&T said the raging fire didn't just damage the Morris Building, it also destroyed their cell phone tower.

Now, some said something as simple as sending a text message is a big hassle.

If you're an AT&T customer and haven't noticed the service problems, at least one business can fill you in on what it's like.

"We can't run credit cards, we can't get on Facebook, we can't do any of our normal day-to-day business," said Bow Love Hairbows Owner, Brian Lamp.

Lamp is struggling to keep his business online.

He relies on AT&T's mobile hotspot for service. Unfortunately, after Sunday's fire at the Morris Building, that service is spotty at best.

"We get to run a credit card, I have to run across the street to the Rio Grande restaurant and they let me get on their Wi-Fi and run their credit card and run back across the street," he said.

"It's not that we don't care about the building or anything like that, but people don't realize what the tower did, with it burning up, how it affects people downtown too," said Lamp.

He said the effects are already being felt. In addition to credit card swipe problems, he's having a tough time with online auctions.

He said it's all because the service just won't work.

AT&T released a statement about the service outages:
"Due to damaged equipment from last weekend's fire in the Morris Building, some AT&T wireless customers may experience issues with in-building coverage in the areas of River Park Hospital, the Amtrak Station, and Big Sandy Superstore Arena. Wireless service impact will primarily be limited to in-building coverage. AT&T engineers are currently investigating options for adding temporary capacity while our damaged equipment is repaired. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause."

But as far as a time-frame for when service may be back to normal, that's up in the air.

"The ones who shop with us on a daily basis, they understand, but for the new customers, it just doesn't look that great," said Lamp.

The owners of Bow Love Hairbows said they reached out to AT&T for a solution and were told if they switch to a new provider, they'd still have to pay the early termination fee of about $700.

In the meantime, it seems they're stuck borrowing Wi-Fi.



ORIGINAL STORY 7/31/14 @ 11:34 a.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The fire at the Morris Building in Huntington is causing some issues for AT&T wireless customers in the city.

Officials with AT&T tell WSAZ.com their tower on top of the Morris Building was burnt in the fire.

Company officials say due to the damage, "Some AT&T wireless customers may experience issues with in-building coverage in the areas from River Park Hospital, the Amtrak Station, and Big Sandy Superstore Arena."

They also say wireless service impact will primarily be limited to in-building coverage.

Crews have been at the site of the fire on Thursday, investigating options for a temporary tower, while the damaged equipment is repaired.


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