Arlington Heights police and firefighters responded about 2:58 p.m. Friday, May 27, 2022 to a report of a downed data/cable line at Euclid Avenue and Douglas Avenue in Arlington Heights.
Firefighters arrived to find that a garbage truck snagged one or more overhead data/cable lines running along the south parkway of Euclid Avenue.
Firefighters requested either AT&T, WOWWAY and/or Comcast respond to repair and inspect their lines.
A fire lieutenant climbed a fire department ladder and untangled a data line that was still wedged in the top of the garbage truck.
No electric power lines were involved in the incident. Eastbound Euclid Avenue was closed temporarily while lines were secured. Douglas Avenue south of Euclid Avenue was closed where a line was obstructing Douglas Avenue, and remained closed as of 6:00 p.m.
One data line end was deliberately stuck in the ground in case it involved any hazard involved with a fiber optic cable.
According to the Fiber Optic Association (FOA), fiber optic light is usually in the infrared wavelengths and is not as dangerous as a laser light, which can cause serious eye damage. Nevertheless, people should not look directly into the end of a severed cable, because if the cable is a fiber optic cable, the infrared light transmitted is invisible to the human eye, and infrared exposure damage is possible to the cornea or lens. Damage to the retina is not likely, according to the FOA. Fiber Optics uses glass fibers with light in the infrared region, which has wavelengths longer than visible light — typically around 850, 1300 and 1550 nm (nanometers).
The FOA states that the greater danger from contact with fiber optic cables are the glass shards that can be present during repair or while handling of severed lines. The small shards can penetrate skin, or can be transferred to the eyes, which might require treatment at the emergency room. The small shards area extremely difficult to find. The nearly invisible glass shards can also contaminate food and become embedded in the digestive system.
Initially, there was no confirmation whether the downed lined at Euclid Avenue and Douglas Avenue was fiber optic line or a standard coaxial cable.
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