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Washington

Only pay phone in area lacking cell service to be removed

UPDATED: Sun., Nov. 12, 2017, 10:49 p.m.

The Big Four Ice Caves in Washington are devoid of visitors Tuesday, July 7, 2015. (Mark Mulligan / The Herald)
The Big Four Ice Caves in Washington are devoid of visitors Tuesday, July 7, 2015. (Mark Mulligan / The Herald)

VERLOT, Wash. – One of the only pay phones left in one of Washington state’s most beautiful and dangerous outdoor destinations is slated to be removed, and that has some emergency workers worried that visitors could be left in a dead zone.

The Everett Herald reports there is little to no cellphone service along the Mountain Loop Highway that brings travelers to the Big Four Ice Caves near the Verlot ranger station.

The caves draw about 50,000 visitors annually. Most 911 calls for the region come from the pay phone at the Verlot Public Service Center.

Snohomish County sheriff’s Sgt. Christopher Ferreira says the phone is the closest lifeline when someone is injured in a cave collapse or another tragedy occurs.

But Frontier Communications, which owns the phone, says the decision to decommission pay phones is based on usage, condition and other considerations.