Butte County Dispatch Center was quiet late Tuesday, June 4, and AT&T cell telephone users received a no service notice when they tried to call in or out of Belle Fourche. That cell service was down.
According to county dispatchers, a fiber optic line used by CenturyLink was broken Tuesday afternoon at about 3 p.m.
It took down the county's 911 service and all phones to the Butte County Courthouse in Belle Fourche.
It appeared the outage lasted between three and four hours for different services.
When the Butte County emergency dispatching center in Belle Fourche, Lawrence County dispatchers are automatically patched in to receive Butte County 911 calls. The Lawrence dispatchers did remain in radio contact with the Butte County dispatchers.
Cell phone service through AT&T went down at approximately the same time.
In Spearfish, an AT&T sales consultant at the company store there checked the situation with a proprietary system map, and said the tower that serves Belle Fourche was entirely out of operation.
He did not know at the time that the fiber optic cable had been cut and 911 service was also out. The broken cable could explain the cell tower outage.
Butte County Dispatch also usually uses texts to firefighters and other first responders as part of their emergency dispatching system to give additional information on a call. AT&T has an estimated half of cell phone service in all of South Dakota.