UPDATE:†Engineers were able to identify and resolve the issue and service was restored by Friday at 2:45 a.m., according to a Verizon spokeswoman.
Verizon Wireless customers in Tampa Bay experienced a region-wide outage on Thursday night.
Several websites that track service outages showed bright red spots all over the bay area.
A Verizon spokeswoman confirmed via email that a network issue was affecting the region. Engineers were working to fix the problem as quickly as possible, the company said.
The outage prompted several public safety agencies to post messages on social media reassuring residents that 911 operations were not affected by the outage. Though, the agencies warned, customers who try to call 911 from Verizon cell phones won’t get through.
The St. Petersburg Police Department warned that its non-emergency number was not working. It told residents who need to reach the department about non-emergency issues to call (727) 893-7762.
The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office tweeted that its deputies’ agency-issued cell phones, which run on the Verizon network, were not working.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said its 911 call center was operational and reminded Verizon cell customers to call 911 via landline if they need help.
The Clearwater Police Department said its communications center was also still working, and also advised Verizon customers to use a landline to call 911 or the non-emergency line at (727) 562-4242.
Customers reacted angrily on Verizon Wireless’s customer service Twitter page. The account @VZWSupport fielded dozens of complaints about down service.
The company did not say what caused the outage or how long it would take to restore service.