Internal Power Failure Led to DC 911 Outage, Officials Say

The failure in internal power boxes was abnormal but not nefarious, a D.C. security official said

Washington, D.C., officials say they know what caused the city's 911 system to fail late Saturday night, but they are still trying to find out why it happened.

Chris Geldart, director of the District of Columbia’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency, said Sunday the system was down for about 90 minutes due to an equipment failure inside the system.

“We know exactly what in the system failed,” Geldart said. “We want to know why it failed.”

Power failed after 11 p.m., and was back in service by about 1 a.m., officials said, including Mayor Muriel Bowser, who tweeted updates during the outage.

Geldart said power from Pepco flowed normally into the system and was not the source of the failure. Once the power came into the system, all the power boxes failed at the same time.

Geldart said it was not a normal type of failure, but there was nothing nefarious about it, and there was no hacking into the system. He said his agency will conduct a review to find out what caused the failure.

Officials did not have an accurate number of missed calls during the outage. The fire and EMS department said they received 30 EMS calls and five fire calls to the 10-digit backup number used during the outage. The police department said they had five dispatch calls.

The system is fully functional, both primary and backup.

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