Engineer drops tool, slices 70,000 telephone lines

LONDON--Around 70,000 Telewest subscribers lost their phone lines on Tuesday after an engineer dropped a spanner while fixing some equipment at the cable company's offices in Scotland. The spanner landed on some batteries, starting a fire that took down the 70,000 phone lines.

LONDON--Around 70,000 Telewest subscribers lost their phone lines on Tuesday after an engineer dropped a spanner while fixing some equipment at the cable company's offices in Scotland.

The spanner landed on some batteries, starting a fire that took down the 70,000 phone lines. Customers were unable to make or receive calls from 2.30pm, and although most businesses were reconnected that afternoon many residential customers were cut off until midnight, according to the Edinburgh Evening News. Telewest's offices were evacuated and a fire engine called, but a special fire prevention system reportedly managed to extinguish the blaze. --Graeme Wearden, ZDNet UK