Much of Carlton County in northeast Minnesota is expected to remain without emergency 911 service and other communications until about 7 p.m. Tuesday. So far, the loss has not resulted in any major public safety issues.
A contractor putting in a sewer line near Proctor around noon on Tuesday accidentally cut a fiber optic line. That left Cloquet and much of Carlton County without long distance, Internet or 911 service.
People can still call 911 on their cell phones, according to Carlton County Sheriff Kelly Lake. Those calls are being routed through St. Louis County.
"And then they have direct contact via radio to our dispatch, they're then able to dispatch out emergency services," said Lake.
Lake said there were only about five emergency calls, including one for a grass fire that was quickly extinguished.
The fiber cut was unrelated to ongoing repairs from recent flooding. The region also lost 911 service last July when a CenturyLink fiber optic line along Interstate 35 was vandalized.