Long-distance telephone service for thousands of % 5/8 Baltimore-area customers of MCI Communications was back to normal yesterday after a 2 1/2 -hour interruption late Friday caused by a brush fire that damaged fiber-optic cable in Northeast Baltimore.
MCI spokesman Jim Collins said yesterday that the fire, along railroad tracks near the intersection of 25th Street and Garrett Avenue, broke the cable at 9:12 p.m. Maintenance workers managed to splice the cable at 11:45 p.m., using heat to fuse the glass fiber back together, he said.
Because the thin glass strand carries many thousands of calls at a time, it "certainly affected thousands of customers" calling from and to the Baltimore area, Mr. Collins said.
But MCI computers were programmed to reroute calls blocked by the line break.
A spokesman for the Baltimore Fire Department said four pieces of equipment were sent to fight the fire, which was put out by 10:33 p.m.