Subsidiaries of AT&T Inc. in San Bruno are providing victims of Thursday’s gas line explosion and fire with free access to phone and computer services to help them keep in touch with loved ones during the disaster’s aftermath, the company announced today.
Employees of AT&T stores in San Bruno provided wireless phones to people who needed them at the Veterans Memorial Recreational Center, located at 251 City Park Way at Crystal Springs Road. The company also made computers and cellular phone chargers available at that location, the company said in a statement.
Phone battery chargers were also made available at the Red Cross center at the Bayhill Shopping Center, the company said, and AT&T employees offered general assistance to Red Cross volunteers there.
After the gas line exploded at about 6:15 p.m. Thursday, two AT&T cell sites lost power and another went off-air, the company said. The area’s wireless network then quickly became heavily congested.
The company immediately sent portable generators to all three sites, and they are now fully operational, AT&T said.
A Cellular on Wheels rolling cell site was also deployed to make sure the network would be able to handle the inevitable increase in voice and data traffic following the crisis, the company said.
Displaced customers are also eligible to receive some free services without the usual installation fees.
Victims of the fire can set up call forwarding, remote call forwarding, remote access to call forwarding, voicemail, or a new phone line without paying introductory fees, the company said.
“The necessity to communicate with family, friends and loved ones, as well as critical community support services, becomes even more vital during a crisis,” said Ken McNeely, the president of AT&T-California, in a statement.
Displaced AT&T customers can get their free services by calling (888) 338-3291 and leaving a voicemail with a working contact number.
A representative will return the call within 24 hours with an assessment of what services would best serve the customer’s needs, the company said.