Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Rogue cell phone dials Iowa 911 — again and again

WATERLOO, Iowa — A rogue cell phone is not accepting calls, but it sure likes to dial 911 operators in eastern Iowa.

Operators at the Black Hawk County Consolidated Communications Center said that they received about 400 calls from the same cell phone last week and that no one seems to be on the other line.

"That's it right now," said dispatcher Chuck Hosier, as a phone rang in the background. "It will ring in, and it's an open line. Sometimes it rings in and drops off."

Officials can't locate the phone but have figured out that it is an old line not currently associated with a cell phone provider. Such phones, once charged up, can still place 911 calls under Federal Communications Commission rules set in 1994.

The cell phone can't receive calls, and emergency workers haven't been able to track the owner through service records, either.

"With this, we are pretty helpless," said Judy Flores, the center's administrative supervisor.

Officials are suspicious that it could be a prank — but they say it's not funny and potentially dangerous.

Until the source of the calls is found or they stop, dispatchers still have to answer every call just in case someone is on the line with an emergency.

A yawning husband almost died – after his mouth got stuck wide open.

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