BALTIMORE (WJZ) — There are still no answers about why Baltimore City’s 911 system was down for more than an hour Tuesday night, potentially causing delays in response to emergency situations.

WJZ’s George Solis has more on the outage and the investigation into how it happened.

According to our media partner, The Baltimore Sun, Verizon has said that for some reason, the calls were being rerouted to an empty backup call center in the city. Why that happened is still unknown.

A public safety nightmare. On Tuesday night, Baltimore City’s 911 system crashed without notice.

On Wednesday, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake addressed the outage with WJZ.

“What could have been a catastrophic event was not,” the mayor said.

Police and fire got word 911 went down just before 8 p.m.

The system was up and running again within two hours, but the question now is why did it crash in the first place?

“That’s still under investigation. We’re working with Verizon on that,” said Jeff Segal, interim fire chief.

Wednesday, Verizon said calls were being sent to an empty backup call center.

During the 911 blackout, the public was asked to call 311 with any emergencies.

“We physically gathered in a room, plans were immediately put into place and 911 call takers transitioned over to 311,” said Commissioner Kevin Davis. Baltimore City Police Department.

Social media was also used to get the word out. It’s also where concerned people sounded off.

Police tell WJZ, thankfully, during the outage, no real emergencies were called in.

“I know that no nonfatal shootings or fatal shootings occurred during that time frame,” said Davis.

Police across the city were also instructed to stay visible by leaving their emergency lights on.

Emergency management staff have said the system has had troubles before — but nothing like this.

“We’re working now with Verizon to figure out what happened yesterday,” police said.

Police Commissioner Kevin Davis also tells WJZ the 911 system switch-over to police and fire back in October played no role in the crash.

A Verizon spokesperson has said it’s unclear whether the problem was a network or equipment issue.


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