Hurricane cell service issues affecting first responders and school pickup

Published: Mar. 7, 2023 at 8:00 PM EST
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HURRICANE, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Even after hitting the play button, no sound comes out of Angela Roach’s car. That is only part of the service issues Roach experiences when she is heading to the Hurricane High School pick-up line.

“I play music in my car, so it will just cut out when I am on the interstate headed towards Teays Valley it just completely goes out so I can’t make any phone calls,” Roach said.

Service outages in Hurricane during school pickup is an issue with AT&T customers, according to Hurricane Mayor Scott Edwards. Edwards said the one AT&T tower in the area is overloaded.

Each day for the last few weeks he said service is fine during the day, but when 3:15 p.m. rolls around that service starts cutting out. He said it will not come back on until around 6:30 p.m.

Edwards said getting in touch with children for pickup and the added commotion of pick-up lines can be a challenge.

“I have had hundreds of parents contact me about this whether it is trying to get a hold of their kids,” Edwards said.

The outage is also an issue for first responders.

“Yesterday I tried to call our police chief, I tried to call our major, and tried to call a captain. I was traveling yesterday, couldn’t get a hold of any of the three, and I knew they were probably around the City Hall area which is right beside the high school,” Edwards said.

The mayor spoke with AT&T officials about the issue the community has experienced in recent months.

“They are actively working on the issue,” Edwards said. “They want it fixed. I don’t think they knew it was this big of a deal.”

WSAZ also reached out to AT&T about their efforts to resolve the issue.

“Our technicians recently optimized settings at our cell site in Hurricane to help alleviate impacts to service during peak hours. We continue to monitor the performance of our network around the clock to serve our customers,” said a spokesperson.

Edwards said it might take longer for a more permanent solution.