SaskTel says it may take up to 10 days to fully restore all the communications services knocked out by a fire in the Spiritwood, Sask., region this past weekend.
Residents of communities such as Spiritwood, Chitek Lake, Shell Lake, Leoville, Rabbit Lake and the Witchekan Lake First Nation have been forced to make do without cellular, landline and internet services since early Sunday morning.
SaskTel said cell service was restored in the town of Spiritwood and immediate surrounding area Sunday night when it brought in a "cellular on wheels."
The utility said the fire took place in a SaskTel building in Spiritwood that houses transport and core equipment — and that it needs to construct a permanent distribution office in order to fully restore all services in the area, a project it estimates could take 10 days to complete.
Crews worked through Monday night to replace and reconnect the equipment that was damaged, SaskTel said in an update Tuesday morning.
Restoration of wireless service the priority
SaskTel said it anticipates cellular services will be restored for the remaining communities of Mildred, Chitek Lake, Leoville, Shell Lake, Witchekan Lake, Rabbit Lake and Belbutte by late afternoon or early evening Tuesday.
The update said the restoration of wireless services was the priority. Once cellular services are operational, SaskTel crews will shift their focus to restoring data and landline services.
Without data service, businesses in the area do not have the ability to accept debit or credit payments.
SaskTel is recommending that anyone travelling to the affected area have cash on hand.
Because 911 service is still not available, residents in the area have been told to physically contact emergency service providers if they know of anyone who requires emergency services.
Spiritwood is approximately 150 kilometres northwest of Saskatoon.