Lincoln firefighter's rotary phone collection kept department online after system failure
Dec 07, 2012 (Bangor Daily News - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
LINCOLN, Maine -- Rotary telephones, those relics of the eras of the Kennedy administration and "The Rockford Files," got new life last week thanks to a firefighter's ingenuity and favorite hobby, officials said Friday.
A failure of the Public Safety Building's telephone system on Nov. 30 left firefighters and police without a working telephone system until Engineer Ken Goslin brought in five rotary phones, Fire Chief Phil Dawson said.
Dawson called the save "a blast from the past" in the Weekly News, the public town government report prepared by town staff every week.
"We noticed the problem when we were at lunch and the phones started ringing and blinking, even though no one was calling in. Eventually, it stopped responding completely," Goslin said of the building's phone system.
Once firefighters realized that the repair technician from Central Maine Communications would likely take a few hours to arrive, Goslin, a collector of rotary phones, went to his home in Lincoln and grabbed five, he said.
The technician arrived at the Public Safety Building at 5 p.m. that day and realized he had the wrong replacement phone system. Forced to drive to Pittsfield to meet a courier from Lewiston to get two replacement systems, the technician got back to the station at 9 p.m. only to find that the new replacements also didn't work, Goslin said.
The malfunctioning telephone system was finally replaced Tuesday, Goslin said.
The tech told firefighters that the particular model of PBX telephone system used at the station "was the last system [still in use] in the United States," Goslin said, "which is why it took him so long to get it."
Dawson thanked Goslin for donating his telephones.
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